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Last Tuesday, the Iowa Lottery Board voted to shorten the prize-claim period for four multi-state games in the state.
Iowa Lottery players will have less time to claim prizes for some of the games offered by the Iowa Lottery.
The Iowa Lottery currently allows prize winners to claim their winnings within 365 days of the drawing date. For Powerball, Mega Millions, Lucky for Life, and Lotto America, that time frame will soon be reduced to 180 days from the date of the drawing.
The Lottery Board voted unanimously to implement the change, but it will not take effect for "some months," according to the Lottery. Before making the change, the Lottery must finish testing its statewide gaming system. The new prize claims deadline is currently scheduled to take effect in the first quarter of 2023.
"There is no monetary benefit to the Iowa Lottery from the change," the Lottery said in a press release yesterday. "Under state law, money from unclaimed prizes in Iowa will be returned to players through the lottery's prize pools for future games and promotions."
The annual total amount of unclaimed expired prizes have ranged between $1.3 million and $1.7 million over the last three years.
An internal Lottery study on a sampling of recent drawings for the four aforementioned multi-state games found that a "vast majority" of claims occurred within a six-month period, which fueled the motivation for the change. According to their findings, less than 3% of the prizes from those drawings were claimed after 180 days.
There are currently 14 states that follow a 365-day claims period, including Iowa, whereas 33 other state lotteries require prizes to be claimed within 180 days or six months (182 days).
Another reason for the change was the possibility that players would unintentionally throw away, damage, or lose a ticket as time passed.
"Time is also an important consideration from a security standpoint," the Lottery stated. "As time goes on, it becomes more difficult for those involved to recall the specifics of a ticket purchase and provide that information to the Iowa Lottery for verification purposes."
Other games, such as in-state games like Pick 3 and Pick 4, scratch-off tickets, pull-tab games, and InstaPlay, will continue to have a 90-day claim period from the date of the drawing.
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