DeKALB – It is a day late and $250,000 short for a once-lucky customer of the Mobil gas station on Sycamore Road in DeKalb.
An unclaimed $250,000 Mega Millions lottery ticket expired Thursday after a full year passed since the date of purchase.
Mike Lang, spokesman for the Illinois Lottery, said the unclaimed prize was one of about $2 million worth of prizes that go unaccounted for each month.
He said the lottery tries to reach out to big winners by providing signs to the stores where unclaimed tickets were purchased, but there is only so much that can be done.
“We try to reach out with a varying degree of success,” he said. “It’s certainly something we don’t like to see happen. We want our winners to claim what is theirs.”
Although there is close to $24 million in unclaimed prizes each year, Lang said it still is a small percentage compared to the $1.6 billion in prizes awarded last year.
The money that goes unclaimed moves to the lottery’s prize fund before most of it is transferred to the common school fund.
The clock is ticking on another unclaimed lottery ticket sold at a DeKalb establishment.
A $200,000 Lucky Day Lotto ticket sold at the Jewel-Osco on Sycamore Road in February has about five months before expiration.
If the ticket is claimed, store manager Brian Haschak said it would be the second big prize in as many years after a customer claimed a $250,000 ticket last year.