TIME running out to claim $46 million Big Game jackpot

Thursday, May 31st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ A tiny slip of flimsy paper is still worth more than $23 million, but it's not worth a cent come midnight June 9.

That's when the one-year expiration date is up on the light purple, 3-inch-square winning Big Game ticket purchased in New Jersey.

State lottery officials said if the unwitting _ or possibly procrastinating _ winner does not come forward, the unclaimed prize would be the largest in state history.

The $46 million jackpot _ of which the winner would claim $23.7 million because the lump-sum payment option was chosen _ was purchased via quick-pick on June 9, 2000, at the Krauszer's convenience store in the northeastern New Jersey city of Montvale.

The winning numbers on the unclaimed ticket were 6, 7, 25, 34 and 45, while the Big Money Ball number was 2.

If the prize is not claimed, the money will revert to New Jersey and the other six states that participate in the game: Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Illinois, Virginia and Georgia.

Lottery officials were unsure what the national record for an unclaimed lottery ticket was, but millions of dollars have been forfeited in state and regional lotteries across the nation. In California last year, a $25 million jackpot was unclaimed, a record for that state. The money wound up in an education fund.

In 1996, Hamden, Conn., resident Clarence Jackson tried to redeem a $5.8 million winning ticket three days after its one-year expiration date. He was denied.