The winning lottery ticket for a $63 million jackpot possibly sits forgotten in someone’s desk drawer or glove compartment.
The deadline for the winner to claim the money for the "Super Lotto Plus," and become a millionaire, is today at 5 p.m. Pacific Time. Russ Lopez, deputy director of corporate communications for the California Lottery, told ABC News that 5 p.m. is a hard deadline, and after that it will be too late to claim the jackpot.
"We have unclaimed money all the time, on an average it's about $20 million a year. People just forget they bought a ticket. They misplace it. It's not on their mind. We want people to immediately sign the back of their ticket and then put it somewhere important that they will remember," Lopez told ABC News.
The $63 million unclaimed ticket was sold at a 7-Eleven located at 20871 Lassen Street in Chatsworth, California, lotto officials said, noting the winning numbers were 46-1-33-30-16 and the Mega number 24.
The unclaimed money does not go to waste if a winner does not come forward.
“According to the Lottery Act, all unclaimed prizes automatically go to California public schools,” Lopez said. "The Lottery money is largely unrestricted. That means that schools can use it for non-mandated programs such as computer labs and workbooks.”
“We’re talking about California with about 1,100 K-to-12 school districts and each district has many schools. According to our law, we have to equally divide that money to every school so that money becomes very modest. Last year, we gave $1.39 billion, but after it's divided up between schools, it's very modest so our public schools and our teachers still need a lot of help."
As the clock ticks down on the deadline to win the $63 million, Lopez addressed reports that the California Lottery denied the prize to a person who claimed to have the winning ticket.
"We want people to win and we want people to get their prize money. It's good for our business. We want people to win their prizes," Lopez said. "If we deny them, it is because we have done a very thorough investigation."