Lottery Winners Who Lost Their Tickets

Lost Lottery Ticket

Imagine how devastating it must be if you hit the lottery jackpot only to discover that, um, you’ve lost the winning ticket. Such an occurrence has the potential to be life-changing for all the wrong reasons. Here are some examples of the few hapless souls who not only misplaced their ticket, but also had the audacity to admit it in public.

Martyn and Kay Tott

We begin our rather tragic treatise with this unfortunate couple from 2001. After taking six months to realise they’d bagged over £3 million on the UK National Lottery, it soon became horribly apparent to them that their ticket was nowhere to be found.

Despite responding to the national appeal to find the lucky winner and proving, by way of computer records, that they had indeed bought the ticket, Camelot refused to play ball. The couple’s plight caused a national furore with then Prime Minister Tony Blair even offering his support. But because the 30-day limit for reporting tickets had passed, Camelot concluded that there was no legal obligation for them to pay the desperate couple. Unsurprisingly, the Totts were dubbed ‘the unluckiest couple in Britain’.

Salvatore Cambria and Erik Onyango

These two threw their $1 million-winning US Powerball ticket in the bin after assuming they’d lost. However, a visit to the official site the following day revealed their mortifying mistake. So the desperate pair decided to sue the New Jersey State Lottery Association for failing to update their site more regularly. Unsurprisingly, their legal action failed. As their lawyer gleefully put it, the ticket was ‘headed to a garbage dump somewhere in Canada’.This of course meant they couldn’t prove ownership.

David and Edwina Nylan

An asterisk should be attached to this particular horror story; the simple reason being that you can’t lose a ticket if you were never in possession of it in the first place. And so it goes with David and Edwina Nylan who thought they’d scooped £35 million on the National Lottery. But it transpired that their ticket had not officially been purchased due to insufficient funds in their online account. Although frantically attempting to make a top up, they missed the deadline and forfeited the lot. The devastated couple vowed to never play the lottery again.

Anthony Perosi

We thought it only fair to finish on a positive note with a brief tale about a plumber by the name of Anthony Perosi. For one reason or another, Mr Perosi thought it prudent to buy a ticket for the Staten Island Lottery and then stash it behind a basement pipe.

When word got around that an unclaimed winning ticket had been traced back to the store in which he had purchased his, the penny dropped for Mr Perosi. After finding it he soon realised that he was going to be the lucky recipient of $136 million.This particular story has a happy ending simply because, unlike the UK lottery, there’s no 30-day limit for reporting winning tickets for the Staten Island game.

We’re tempted to close out this particular post with some sanctimonious advice about taking care of your lottery ticket. However, every one of these sad cases serves to illustrate how easy it is to forget about or misplace a ticket, especially when the odds are so stacked against you. So we won’t bother.