Money falling from the sky

Officials with the Virginia Lottery said players should check their tickets because there are three $50,000 ones bought at Virginia stores in April that are set to expire soon.

By law, lottery tickets in Virginia expire 180 days after the drawings, officials said. These three tickets were bought in April at spots in Manassas Park, Chesapeake and Danville.

Lottery officials said each ticket matched four of the first five numbers and the Powerball number.

In Manassas Park, the ticket was bought at a 7-Eleven along Andrew Drive and matched four of the winning numbers from an April 20 drawing — 3-27-30-63-65 — and the Powerball number of 1. Officials said it expires at 5 p.m. on Oct. 17.

Another ticket was bought at a store called Sunrise on West Main Street in Danville and has winning numbers from the April 20 drawing, too. It also expires at 5 p.m. on Oct. 17.

And a third ticket was bought at a 7-Eleven along Starmount Parkway in Chesapeake. It contained four of the winning numbers from an April 6 drawing — 15-33-43-59-60 — and the Powerball number of 8. That ticket expires at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Anyone who has a winning ticket should contact the Virginia Lottery.

Officials said that any unclaimed prizes, by law, go to Virginia's Literary Fund. The fund provides low-interest loans to help pay for building new schools and performing renovations and technology upgrades at existing schools.

It isn't uncommon for lottery winnings to go unclaimed.

"Prizes go unclaimed more often than you might think," said John Hagerty, a spokesman for the Virginia Lottery. He said the unclaimed prizes typically are for smaller amounts such as $2 or $5. But he said "a few times a year, we do see these large prizes go unclaimed."

Why? Hagerty said some people may think that for smaller prizes, it's just inconvenient to go pick up their winnings. Others may not realize they have a winning ticket or lose it.

In fiscal 2019, $6.5 million in prizes went unclaimed at the Virginia Lottery. And in the past 31 years, more than $295 million has gone unclaimed — much of it in smaller ticket prizes, officials said.

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