Lotto Max winner loses out on $1M after missing ticket expiry date

The winner of a $1-million Lotto Max prize has forfeited their money after the expiry date for the ticket passed.

Someone who bought a Lotto Max ticket in Toronto won the Maxmillions prize in the June 15, 2021 draw, but the money was never claimed.

Lotto Max winners have one year from the draw date to claim their prize, meaning the prize expired on Wednesday.

“It’s unfortunate, and it happens occasionally, big prizes like this, it’s rare for them to be unclaimed,” OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti told CTV News Toronto on Thursday.

Bitonti said the winning ticket was never checked in a retail store or on the OLG app, meaning the winner likely misplaced it.

This isn’t the first time a prize winner in Ontario lost a big winning ticket.

In 2013, a 55-year-old engineer from Hamilton threw her $50-million Lotto Max ticket in the garbage by accident.

“She threw out a stack of tickets and the winning ticket was there,” Bitonti said.

Kathryn Jones said she had no idea she had even won until OLG officials contacted her after launching an investigation into the unclaimed prize.

Kathryn Jones, a 55-year-old engineer from Hamilton, Ont., reacts to being announced as the winner of a $50-million Lotto Max jackpot that remained unclaimed for almost a year on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013.

The investigation lasted several months and compared credit card transactions made by Jones to verify the time and date of her purchase.

Officials also looked at surveillance footage from the Shoppers Drug Mart where the ticket was purchased and identified Jones as the winner.

“This was an extraordinary case,” Bitonti said.

Bitonti said the OLG investigates missing winners on a case-by-case basis, and there is no threshold to decide who they will try and track down.

“One of the best way of avoiding this is buying your ticket online,” Bitonti said. “You’ll get an e-mail notifying you that you’ve won.”

Bitonti said the money will be returned to the Lotto Max pool for future jackpots.

Meanwhile, the jackpot in the Lotto Max draw on Friday is worth an estimated $55 million, with at least six Maxmillions prizes available. 

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