Sun. Sep 24th, 2023

It is not very difficult to lose track of time nowadays, as days are melding together in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic. Sadly, this is exactly what happened to a lottery player in Colorado who had to forfeit all his winnings because he missed the deadline for turning in the winning lottery ticket just by a mere three days. A ticket for the Powerball draw was purchased by Peter Bayley this past Spring and he had used his own lucky numbers that allowed him to win $1,500. 

He had been ecstatic at this prospect and had immediately made up his mind to set aside the winnings for a travel budget that he could use with his wife. However, to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the Colorado Lottery offices had been shut down in the middle of March. In normal circumstances, players are usually required by the state to send in their winning ticket in six months. But, due to the pandemic, a 30-day extension had been given for claims made for tickets that were purchased between April 6th and April 30th

Players who didn’t wish to claim their prizes had to opt for alternative methods like mailing in the winning lottery ticket. Bayley revealed that he was also one of the various players who had decided to wait rather than sending in his ticket via certified mail, probably because he was afraid that it would get lost. He said that he could have opted for certified mail, but he hadn’t felt comfortable with the idea. Unfortunately, he ended up waiting too long, so he missed the deadline for turning in his ticket by just three days. He admitted that it was purely his mistake. 

Bayley believed that the Colorado Lottery could have made an extension of three more days for him, but they were not willing to do so. Meghan Dougherty, the Colorado Lottery Communications Manager, explained that there are strict procedures and guidelines that are mandated by the state and it is not possible for them to make any exceptions. She said that it was important to follow the rules or else, everyone would want to make changes to them. She also advised all prospective lottery winners to go over the official rules and guidelines mentioned on the Lottery’s website to familiarize themselves with the claims procedure.

Even though Bayley ended up losing $1,500, it would be viewed as a win for state programs. Unclaimed lottery winnings are given out to state agencies, organizations, and programs that are focused on conservation, such as The Conservation Trust Fund, the Colorado Department of Education, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the Great Outdoors Colorado. While Bayley accepted that his lost winnings would definitely benefit the community, he urged other players to avoid putting themselves in his place and to claim their prizes right away. He implored them to email, call or make an appointment as soon as possible, so they can get their hands on the money.

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