$34M in scratch offs went unclaimed in Ohio last year: Where does that money go?

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A $1 winner here, a $2 winner there and you just leave it laying on a shelf or in the bottom of a purse.

Every year millions of dollars worth of Ohio Lottery instant game tickets, or scratch offs, go unclaimed.

In 2017 the Ohio Lottery paid out  $1.9 billion worth of winners and $34 million went unclaimed.

According to Lottery officials that means 1.8 percent of winning tickets were never cashed in.

You may not have known this but winning tickets can expire and become worthless whether it was a $1 winner or $10,000.

Tickets expire 180 days after the Lottery announced the end of a game.

"The length of time a game is open depends on the ticket print, price point and sales," Danielle Frizzi-Babb, director of the office of communications for the Ohio Lottery explained. "Instant tickets can be open anywhere from six months to two years."

The Lottery has provided a website to see when the last date to redeem tickets is on games that have closed. You can find that HERE.

Where does all that money go?

Thirty four million dollars in unclaimed winnings is a pretty significant number.

So where does it go?

According to Frizzi-Babb, "All unclaimed prize money goes to the Lottery Profits Education fund. Last fiscal year the Ohio Lottery contributed $1.04 billion to the fund."

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) the Lottery Profits Fund and State General Revenue Funds are sent to districts around the state.

"The amount of state funds that a district receives is based on a formula that takes into account the student enrollment and the property wealth of the district," according to a website for the ODE that explains spending.

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