New York Lottery Set To Receive Money Back If $1.34 Billion Mega Millions Goes Unclaimed

Written By Chris Imperiale on September 6, 2022

The Mega Millions jackpot worth $1.34 billion, the second largest in history, still remains unclaimed after a few weeks. A ticket sold in Illinois is set to inherit the massive prize after connecting on the drawing from July 29.

While many would be jumping at the chance to get their hands on this life-changing money, the jackpot continues to sit in limbo. According to state law for the Illinois Lottery, winners get up to a full year to collect their winnings.

Even though there’s plenty of time for that, there is another deadline that’s quickly approaching. The Mega Millions player must make a decision regarding the cash or annuity options for their jackpot. The choice expires within 60 days from the draw date. This leaves 21 days left on the calendar for this individual to do so.

But what if no one steps forward to claim the jackpot and how does it affect the New York Lottery?

What happens to $1.34 billion Mega Millions jackpot?

If the jackpot does happen to go unclaimed altogether, the state of New York recoups what it contributed to the top prize.

All of the money spent on Mega Millions tickets for that drawing is basically refunded to where it came.

Unclaimed NY Lottery money funnels back to the prize pool for the Empire State. It can eventually find its way to more lottery players, in addition to funding various promotions and special one-time games.

Since Mega Millions is a national draw game, like Powerball, it pulls from the majority of the state lotteries around the US. In total, Mega Millions is available in 45 states across the country.

So even though there is still lots of time for this recent lucky winner, it’s a possibility that New York and lots of other states get their portion of the $1.34 billion back.

About the New York Lottery fund

While some of the money sent back is strictly intended for NY Lottery purposes, other funds get used to support education in the area. In fact, the state’s lottery gives 100% of all profits to public education for New Yorkers.

The New York Constitution passed a law in 1966, dictating that all of the revenue from lottery games goes toward education in the state for children. Overall, 35% of money spent on New York Lottery games is redirected to education.

As North America’s largest and most profitable state lottery, NY generates lots of money to benefit those in the state. For the latest fiscal year 2021-2022, the NY Lottery donated $3.6 billion to New York schools and education.

Local school districts receive the money through a similar process of other state-aided funds. These districts’ size and income level determine the amount of lottery contributions, with lower-income locations seeing more of it.

After establishing in the 1960s, the education aid in NY produced more than enough to help students and educators. It has created over $78 billion in funding since 1967.

Recent NY Lottery winners

Despite this crazy Mega Millions ticket not going to a New York Lottery player, the state has witnessed several other notable wins of late.

Just last week, one lucky resident earned a second-tier prize totaling $1 million for the Powerball drawing from Aug. 22. This ticket came from ABC Discount Liquors and Wine on Hillside Ave. in Jamaica, Queens.

Earlier in the month, another NY Lottery player took home an additional $1 million after connecting on a similar second-tier reward with Mega Millions. The winner purchased the winning ticket for the Aug. 9 drawing from Village Stationary, located in Fresh Meadows.

It’s been a decent run for New York residents in the national draw options, as July also concluded with a seven-figure recipient. A winning Mega Millions ticket worth just over $1 million sold in the Bronx on July 29. The lottery player scooped the lucky draw from New Way Deli and Lottery.

Photo by Shutterstock / PlayNY
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Chris Imperiale

Chris Imperiale covers New York sports betting and NY casino gaming industries for PlayNY. He holds a journalism degree from Rutgers University and was formerly on staff at Bleacher Report.

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