Instant lottery tickets worth 17M unclaimed



Scratch-off games are confusing, some lottery players said.
AKRON (AP) -- Ohioans never bothered to redeem instant lottery tickets worth 17 million during the last fiscal year, Ohio Lottery officials said.
The amount represents unclaimed prize money from the tickets during the fiscal year that ended June 30, lottery officials said. About one out of every 50 winning scratch-off ticket was never cashed in.
"I suppose it could be everything from putting [a winning ticket] in your purse and forgetting about it to not realizing you won," said Mardele Cohen, a lottery spokeswoman.
Players who are owed instant ticket prize money have about six months to come forward, and any unclaimed winnings are put back into the pot to pay future winners.
Comparable figures on unclaimed winnings from past years were not immediately available.
Some scratch-off enthusiasts complain that the instant games are confusing, leading some to discard their tickets without realizing they have money waiting.
"I think a lot of older players can't read them, and sometimes it's not always easy to tell if you've won," said Nikki Farnsworth, a regular instant ticket buyer from Cuyahoga Falls.
Players unsure whether an instant ticket is a winner can find out by having it scanned at any counter where lottery tickets are sold, Cohen said.

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