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$50-million Lotto fortune left on the table

Someone bought a ticket that won the March 12 jackpot - but they never claimed the money.

By Associated Press
Published September 10, 2003

It is not uncommon for Lotto jackpots to go unclaimed. Since the game started in 1989, it has happened 19 times.

But nobody ever took a pass on $50-million.

Lottery officials said Tuesday no one redeemed the winning ticket for a $50-million Lotto jackpot, making it the largest jackpot in Florida Lottery history to go unclaimed.

The money will go back to the Lottery commission and be used for promotions or prizes, said Lottery spokeswoman Sheila Griffin.

The winning ticket was sold in March in Miami-Dade County at Kohl's Food Market in North Bay Village.

"I think somebody lost that ticket, no doubt about it," store owner Mohammad Azim Hossain said. "I checked my tickets, I didn't match the number. I know all my customers, all my players - nobody came and asked."

The deadline to redeem the ticket had been 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. The winning numbers for the March 12 jackpot were: 22-23-35-45-50-53.

Lotto winners have 180 days to claim their prizes. Before Tuesday, the largest unclaimed prized had been $15-million in 1991.

Lottery officials can only speculate who might have bought the ticket.

"We thought that it could have been someone vacationing who might have bought a ticket and forgotten about it," Griffin said.

[Last modified September 10, 2003, 01:46:55]


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