In May, some incredibly unlucky person walked into a cozy Tampa market and purchased a jackpot-winning Powerball ticket worth $16.6 million.
So how is that unlucky?
When the clock struck midnight Friday, that ticket was suddenly worthless, and that winner became the first ever Florida Powerball winner to blow a chance at living the life of a multi-millionaire. Whoever played the numbers 02-06-19-21-27-PB25 on May 25 at the Carrollwood Market had 180 days to claim the winnings, but never showed up, according to the Florida Lottery.
“There’s Lottery money that goes unclaimed every year but it’s rare for these big jackpots to go unclaimed,” said Lotto spokeswoman Shelly Gerteisen. “Maybe the ticket got blown away or lost. Or maybe someone visiting Florida bought it and left and forgot about it.”
The money from the ticket, which would have been worth $10 million in cash, will be distributed throughout the states that participate in Powerball, Gerteisen said. She said 80 percent of the money that comes back to Florida will be allocated to public education.
The ticket, one of three winners last May that split a $50 million pot, is only the third Powerball jackpot to go unclaimed in more than 20 years. The largest unclaimed booty in the state was a $53 million Florida Lottery ticket, back in 2003.
The Florida Lottery tried to publicize the ticket’s looming expiration, and the owner of the Carrollwood Market posted signs to try and find the winner.
“We really did everything we could,” Gerteisen said.