Unclaimed million-dollar prize to roll into Iowa Lottery’s holiday promotion

CLIVE — The Iowa Lottery saw the rare occurrence Wednesday of the deadline running out and a one million dollar prize went unclaimed.

Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer says they waited right up to the end of the business day to see if the unknown winner would show. “I stood and watched until the equipment at lottery headquarters was shut down for the day because that was the official game over moment,” she says.

The winning Mega Millions ticket was purchased at an Ames convenience store one year ago. Neubauer says they did get a few calls before the deadline from people hoping they might be the winner. “None of them had the right information that would say that they were the winner, so I think we were able to put some people’s minds at ease,” Neubauer says.

She says the fate of the one million-dollar ticket may never be known. And says it’s rare that such a large prize goes unclaimed. “To the best of my knowledge this is only the second million-dollar prize that has ever expired in Iowa without being claimed,” Neubauer says. The first one was back in 2019 it also was in Story County, which is just strange that these two tickets, both at a million dollars, both expired and Story County,” she says.

The unclaimed money goes back into the prize pool and Neubauer says the Lottery is working on a plan to give it away.”It is not too far into the future that we will start our big annual holiday promotion. That’s one of the biggest promotions that we do every year and so we have decided to roll this million dollars into our holiday promotion for 2023. It’s going to make it one of the biggest holiday promotions that we’ve ever done,” she says.

Neubauer says they are working on the details of the holiday promotion and will announce them once they are finalized.