In recent news, it was broadcast that an online lotto agent anonymously gave away $500,000 in unclaimed lotto winning to charity… As an industry insider, I know which company it was but unfortunately, I am not allowed to divulge that information. However, this is what I can say. We at Fair Lottos are proud to be able to call that company one of our preferred partners!


Why would an online ticketing agent give away all those bucks?

When it comes to physical lotto tickets, you’d be surprised how often people win but fail to claim their prize. Physical tickets getting lost, destroyed, or a player simply forgets to check if they’ve won before the window for claiming expires. Whatever the reason, millions of dollars go unclaimed each year.

Physical lottery tickets are bought locally in that lotteries jurisdiction and players only have a limited time to claim. This window ranges from a few months up to a year.

Generally speaking, when winnings from locally bought lotto tickets go unclaimed the prize money goes back into the coffers of the jurisdiction in which the lottery was run. From there, it depends on that jurisdiction’s rules for unclaimed lottery prizes as to what happens next. In some states/counties, the funds must go back to players in the form of bonus prizes or second-chance contests.

There is another way to buy lotto tickets, and that is through a private online ticketing agent. With these companies, the reasons why prizes go unclaimed are different and more tragic… Let’s talk about that now.


They win the lottery all the time…

What happens when an online lottery ticketing agent purchase a lottery ticket on behalf of an international player, and for reasons I’ll get into shortly, the player cannot collect the prize?

What happens to those millions when the company claims the winning for themselves?

You see, proxy companies – agents who purchase foreign lottery tickets on behalf of their members – technically own the ticket. It must be this way because it’s the company’s relationship with the world’s lottery ticket wholesalers that make it possible for non-resident players to play international lotteries and be able to collect their winnings.


When are online ticketing agents not obliged to payout?

As the proxy, ticketing agents purchase and hold tickets – usually digital – as part of their service to their clients. Even though the agent technically owns the ticket customers are always paid out… except when:

  1. A player passes away
  2. A player is convicted of a criminal offence
  3. A player purchases tickets fraudulently with a stolen credit card or any other such activity


What does an agent do with the winnings when a player forfeits the big prize?

Lotto agents use their relationships with global lotto ticket wholesalers to facilitate international player participation in the world’s biggest games. Because of this buying process the lotto agent technically owns the ticket.

In the rare situations listed above, a player can forfeit their winnings and the agent is free to keep the money for themselves. However, the most reputable companies do not do that. They give it away to charity.

For example, recently one of Fair Lottos preferred partners donated $500K in unclaimed winnings to several of their charities.

“Instead of padding the bottom line with forfeited winnings our partners are giving back to society and donating these winning to charity.” – Ross Fulford

Over the years, charities and other good causes have received billions in grants from lottery generated funds… it’s in this spirit that the world’s most successful lotteries were founded in the first place. This too is the spirit in which our partners operate.

When physical ticket holders play the local lotto a portion of the proceeds go to charity and community projects.

When clients of online lotto agents forfeit their winning because of some nefarious activity or death then, being the legal owner of the winning ticket, they are free to keep the money. The best will distribute the winnings to good causes.

So, to recap… If a local player loses or damages his winning lotto ticket, he cannot claim the prize – there is no digital record to help him. These wins will go back to the state and most of that money will go back into the next jackpot. However, if a winning ticket was purchased from a proxy company, there is no physical ticket to destroy so winnings are secure and guaranteed. However, in rare cases some events allow it to keep the winnings. If a player passes, commits a criminal offence, or it’s proved that they fraudulently purchased the winning ticket, and because the proxy company technically owns the ticket, it can do with those funds what it will. The best companies – the companies Fair Lottos is proud to call its preferred partners – regularly donate these winnings to various charities… always anonymously.


  1. Good to see good leadership from organisations in these strange times…

  2. Yes, we need all the help we can get. Stay safe

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