After a three-year search, one of Germany’s largest unclaimed prizes returns to the prize pool
By Kate Northrop
After three and a half years of waiting for the winner of a €11.3 million (US$13.9 million) Lotto 6aus49 jackpot to turn up, one of Germany’s largest-ever unclaimed prizes is going back into the prize pool.
The winner lost their chance at claiming once-in-a-lifetime riches once the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve. Even with Germany’s generous lottery ticket claim window — lasting at least three years after the drawing date — he or she still failed to present a winning lottery ticket.
The drawing for the ticket in question took place on April 1, 2017 with winning numbers 5, 8, 9, 18, 22, and 36, with Superzahl (bonus) number 8. Three days later, Lotto Baden-Württemberg took to social media to announce the win and the city the winner was likely from.
The specific deadline for claiming a winning lottery ticket in Germany is defined as three years after the final calendar date in the year the drawing was conducted. So the deadline in this case was three years after December 31, 2017, or three years and nine months.
Over that time, repeated attempts to coax the winner into stepping forward and claiming the prize were futile.
“Even after a long search, we still sincerely wish we could have been able to pay out the lucky fellow,” Director of State Toto-Lotto Georg Wacker told AFP news agency.
The winning ticket was reportedly bought sometime between March 29 and April 1, 2017 in Reutlingen, a city in southern Germany near Stuttgart.
Players can purchase tickets online or via a registered account, which means that the Lottery has a direct way of contacting them should they win a prize. However, the winner’s identity for the April 1, 2017 cannot be traced since the winning ticket was purchased anonymously at a lottery retailer. Players holding a physical winning ticket purchased in-person are required to present it in order to claim winnings.
While it’s not the first time a prize has gone unclaimed in the history of any lottery, “unclaimed big wins are rare.” According to Wacker, however, it’s possibly the largest win in Germany where a winner failed to collect such a sizeable prize.
“It only happens every few years,” Wacker told German magazine Der Spiegel.