York man loses out on $1.25 million after tossing lottery tickets

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What is worse than not winning a big lottery jackpot? How about winning, but not being able to claim your prize. A York man won $1.25 million through the Pennsylvania Lottery game Quinto, but he could not cash in on the tickets because he threw them away.

A customer pointed to the screen of a lottery machine at Zhoe Grocery on South Queen Street, and asked Wendy Hinton if she knew that the store had sold millions in lottery tickets. “A customer said look on the screen you sold 25 tickets, and sold a million dollars worth of tickets. I said no we didn’t. He turned the screen around and it showed that we sold the tickets,” said Hinton, who has worked for Zhou Grocery for more than 20 years. As soon as she saw the details, she said she knew who had purchased the tickets, “It said that we sold 25 tickets, how much the ticket was, and they were Quinto. Only one person played that many tickets,” said Hinton.

Hinton said the ticket purchaser used to live right down the street and bought Quinto tickets just about every day. “He spent maybe like $50 to $100 a day. He played maybe one or two numbers, but he played maybe 25 tickets with one number, or $30 on one number,” said Hinton.

In this instance, back in March 2013, the man purchased 25 winning tickets at the store, each with the same winning numbers. That meant each ticket was worth $50,000 and the total winnings came out to $1.25 million.

Although the man moved to another section of town he stopped in to the store to confirm the news, and let them know he would not be claiming the prize. “He said you know that was me, I said I know that,” said Huntin. “He said I threw away the ticket, I don’t have the ticket any more. He was bummed, he was like I could have used the money. But, there is nothing I can do.”

According the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Lottery, Sil Lutkewitte, to claim a lottery prize a person must have the ticket. “It happens now and again, ordinarily with prizes of smaller denominations, one and two dollars,” said Lutkewitte. “It happens about less than half a percent of our total sales on a yearly basis.”

Lutkewitte said the store was not notified at the time the store actually sold the ticket last year because for drawing games, the lottery notifies retailers when they sell an individual ticket worth $200,000 or more. The tickets in this instance were only worth $50,000 each, so the store was not notified until when the tickets were about to expire.