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Mega Millions: 3 winning tickets still unclaimed in California

April 30, 2012 | 10:18 am

Mega Millions ticket buyer
A month after Mega Millions fever swept the nation with a record jackpot, California Lottery officials say there are three tickets worth more than $227,000 that are still unclaimed in the state.

In March, residents swept up tickets in bunches, clinging to the hope that their six numbers could reel in a life-changing $656-million jackpot. No California residents won a share of the big prize, but 29 lucky players did match five of six numbers to win $227,955.

For that kind of relative chump change, California Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso said, it’s “rare” for a winner to wait this long to turn a ticket in.

“If we were looking at a prize that was a much larger amount of money, there might be reasons to wait,” Traverso said. “For $227,000, that’s kind of a different story. … You start to think, ‘Did they lose or misplace the ticket?’”  

One of the unclaimed tickets was sold locally at Hollywood Bazaar, 6701 Hollywood Blvd., according to Traverso. The other two were sold in Alameda County and San Francisco.

Traverso said that winners have 180 days to claim their prizes and added that he thinks those who wanted to mail in their tickets have probably already done so. Now, he says, it might be a matter of finding the lucky ticket inside couch cushions.

“When you hit the first month and people haven’t starting coming forward, especially for a draw that had so much publicity around it,” Traverso said, “if it’s been a month and these tickets are still out there, you start to wonder just how long they’re going to be.”

And as last month’s prizes remain unclaimed, a new jackpot is building. No one matched all six numbers in Friday’s draw, raising the jackpot back into nine digits at $102 million.

If it keeps climbing, Traverso said, officials will be better prepared this time around. He said his colleagues would welcome the renewed excitement.  

“For as crazy as it was, it’s something everyone reminisces about fondly,” he said.  

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-- Matt Stevens

Twitter.com/mattstevenslat

Photo: Filia Kinslow shows the lottery tickets she bought in March in Santa Ana. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

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