The winning ticket was sold at Scole Lotto & News in Brunswick, Melbourne, ahead of the draw on Thursday 11th January, but it had not been registered to an official playing card and the identity of the lucky participant remained a mystery as it became the largest unclaimed lottery prize in Australia’s history.
‘Great to know it’s been claimed’
Lottery players in Victoria have six months to come forward and claim prizes, and as the clock ticked down towards the deadline there was a considerable amount of concern. Australia Powerball spokesman Matt Hart issued a last-ditch plea just a couple of weeks ago, confirming that the money would be transferred to the Revenue Office on 14th July.
While the prize could still have been collected after this date, the latest appeal seems to have done the trick after someone came forward to claim the money anonymously. They brought their ticket in to Melbourne’s Tatts Lotto office on Wednesday, 175 days after the draw, but lottery spokesperson Bronnie Spencer said the ‘reason behind the delay has not been revealed’.
Spencer added that the hunt for the winner had ‘captured the imagination of the nation’, and the owner of Scole Lotto & News has admitted it is a relief to finally see the saga come to an end. Sam Misiano said: “We still won’t know who bought the ticket, if it was a regular or a visitor, but it’s just great knowing that it has been claimed and they can enjoy it.”
‘So Many Stories’
Misiano added that many of his customers had wanted to touch his hands or rub his head or face for luck over the past few months, while others have tried to persuade him that they were the rightful winner and sometimes even asked to see the store’s CCTV. He said: “I’ve had so many numbers now with stories. One lady believed she threw the ticket away.”
Powerball is one of several exciting options for lottery fans in Australia, along with Oz Lotto, Set for Life, Monday Lotto, Wednesday Lotto and Saturday Lotto. Australia Powerball draws take place every Thursday night, and players now have to select seven numbers from 1 to 35 plus a Powerball from 1 to 20.
These changes were introduced in April to help create more winners in every draw and bigger jackpots. You can enjoy Australian lotteries online or by visiting authorised retailers in the country.