There have been many stories about unclaimed lottery tickets worth millions. After the August 24th Oregon Megabucks draw took place and the numbers were published, the history seemed to repeat itself. It all looked like another case of bad luck for some unfortunate winner who will never cash his prize. With a jackpot of $6.4million, it was a jackpot you wouldn’t want to forget about winning!
Yet, the winner did come forward eventually. It only took until December 1st and a trip halfway around the world. Why? The lucky guy lives in the capital city of Iraq, Baghdad. So, how exactly did a man who had never stepped foot inside the United States win a lottery jackpot in the state of Oregon?
It turns out that the 37 year old male, who wished to remain anonymous, had bought the ticket in a completely legal fashion. theLotter.com is a website offering lotto tickets purchase services to lottery fans from all over the globe. The winning ticket the Iraqi man ordered online was physically bought for him at a Binky’s deli in the town of Bend, Oregon by the company’s local agent.
A similar story happened in 1994, when a police officer from New Jersey was ruled to have illegally purchased a winning ticket for a Texas Lottery, resulting in him not getting a jackpot that totalled $10.5million. The judge ruled against the winner on that particular occasion, but the winner from Iraq didn’t receive such bad news!
The man first arrived at the lottery office in Salem, Oregon in December, much to the surprise of the staff working there. He had already set up a bank account in the USA so he could receive his winnings, which will be made in 20 instalments in total – US lotto's let you chose from one lump sum payment or instalments when claiming your winnings.
Understandably, the rather unique circumstances of the win meant that the lottery organisation had to make some checks with Interpol and Department of Justice to ensure the story behind the winning ticket was all legal. The businessman from Iraq’s story checked out though, and was awarded his winnings shortly after.