Don’t crumple up that Powerball lottery ticket just yet.
Somewhere out there in Minnesota are a dozen ticket holders who can each claim $50,000 from Wednesday’s billion-dollar Powerball drawing.
Unfortunately for Minnesotans, the record-breaking $1.6 billion jackpot will be split among three ticket holders in Florida, Tennessee and California. But at least 379,573 tickets in Minnesota will allow holders to cash in amounts ranging from a not-too-shabby $50,000 to an inconsequential $4. In Wisconsin, 13 players are holding tickets that will pay out $50,000.
As of Thursday, a Stillwater man claimed one of the $50,000 prizes, said Don Feeney, state lottery research and planning director. Lottery officials received calls Thursday from a couple of other players who said they also had matched four numbers and the Powerball for the $50,000 win.
More than 1,000 ticket holders in Wednesday’s drawing won at least 100 bucks.
Winners have a year to claim their prizes. But if history holds true, Feeney said, some prizes will go unclaimed.
“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, I didn’t win the jackpot,’ and they don’t bother to check the rest of their ticket,” he said. “Or all kinds of other things happen: The trucker who is driving through the state loses his ticket behind the dashboard or the cat eats it. Who knows?”
Although unclaimed big prizes are rare, it happens, he said. A Gopher 5 ticket holder never claimed a $1.4 million jackpot in 2007. Like all unclaimed prizes, it went into state coffers.
Last year, Minnesota profited from $11.7 million in lottery prizes that no one claimed. Unclaimed prizes totaled $9.6 million in 2014 and $11.1 million in 2013.
Lottery officials are still waiting on a $1 million winner from the Minnesota Millionaire Raffle on Jan. 1. That ticket was sold at the SuperAmerica at 1847 Johnson St. NE., Minneapolis. A $100,000 winner in that raffle also has yet to step forward.
Other unclaimed prizes include a $140,000 Gopher 5 ticket bought in St. Stephen, in central Minnesota, for the Jan. 8 drawing, a $28,000 prize from a Dec. 17 Northstar Cash drawing and a $30,000 Northstar Cash prize drawn on Jan. 6.
It’s not unusual for people to collect their prizes a couple of months after the numbers are drawn, Feeney said. “Particularly, for something like a million-dollar prize, people may want to consult a tax adviser first or an attorney,” he said. “We get a surprising number of them coming in eight or nine months after the fact. Sometimes they just had a bunch of tickets that they didn’t get around to checking.”
But Feeney wouldn’t be one to procrastinate. “I would come in right away, because I wouldn’t want to take a chance on losing the ticket,” he said.
Last year, the Minnesota Lottery racked up $547 million in sales from its eight lottery games and two dozen scratch-off games, with 25 cents of every dollar going to state programs, Feeney said. Wednesday’s Powerball broke sales records in Minnesota. The state’s Powerball ticket sales for the Wednesday drawing hit $18.8 million, smashing Saturday’s record-setting sales of $13.1 million. The previous sales record was $10.8 million, set on Nov. 28, 2012, for a $587 million jackpot.
The entire run-up to the billion-dollar jackpot that began Nov. 5 raked in $49.1 million in sales, Feeney said.
And the top retail seller of lottery tickets during that run was just a half-mile from the U.S.-Canadian border: Ryden’s Border Store in Grand Portage, which took in $127,000 in Powerball lottery ticket sales since the November run began.