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Do Lottery Tickets & Scratch Cards Expire?

Do Lottery Tickets & Scratch Cards Expire?

Buying a lottery ticket can be an exciting experience and a confusing one. Exciting because it offers the chance to win big, but confusing because you don’t know how much time you have before it expires. Even a keen player can misplace their ticket and remember it months later. But is the ticket still valid?

Customers who leave their tickets sitting around might want to still claim their winnings despite a long time period. However, do lottery tickets & scratch cards expire? Let’s find out in this Wizard Slots article.

Do Lottery Tickets Expire?

It may sound ridiculous to hear that some players don’t claim their winnings fast enough. But the reality is that life can get in the way. It’s easy to forget a small piece of paper in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, not to mention the odds of winning the lottery are slim, so it’s easy to push it to the back of your mind.

However, it’s a general rule that anyone who wins the lottery has 180 days to claim their winnings. It’s not common for lottery winnings to go unclaimed, but it does happen.

How Long Do Lottery Tickets Remain Valid?

The UK Lotto states that winners cannot claim their prize on the 181st day. That’s roughly around 6 months from the lottery draw. If you miss out on claiming your winnings within this period, the money is channelled towards charity projects.

One helpful tip would be to check your ticket regularly to avoid missing out on potential winnings. In addition, you can check the lottery website to see any published winners.

Do Scratch Cards Expire?

Scratch cards are an equally exciting form of a lottery game. You buy one, scratch off its silver foil with a coin, and see if you match a specific number of icons or values in hopes of winning. They’ve been popular in the UK since the early 90s.

Camelot is the main governing body behind scratch cards. They largely use the same rules as they did when establishing scratch cards, one of which is that they can randomly announce a closing date for scratch cards; this normally only happens if the prize(s) has been claimed.

However, most of the time, scratch cards come with a stipulated closure date on them, and they can also be found online.

How Long Do You Have To Cash In A Scratch Card?

Like the lottery, you have 180 days to cash in a winning scratch card. It is expired on the 181st day after the closure date.

How To Check If A Scratch Card Has Expired

Note the expiration date after the operator delivers their announcement. If you win, you must claim your prize within the given timeframe. So, there will be two important dates you’ll need to take note of. First, the closure date and the final date to claim your winnings.

Usually, scratch card sales will stop prior to the closure date, but winners still have 180 days to claim their prize.

Where Is The Expiry Date On A Scratch Card?

Scratch cards do not display expiry dates on the physical cards, as the games generally end when all of the prizes have been claimed, as opposed to ending on a set specific date. To find the scratch card's expiry date, you will need to navigate to the provider's website & the information will be displayed there.

Can You Still Claim An Out Of Date Scratch Card?

No. You cannot claim an out-of-date scratch card, as the 180-day window has already closed. It may sound unfair, but the rules always state this disclaimer. As a participant, you must go through the terms and conditions carefully. 

What Happens If You Find A Winning Lottery Ticket?

A general rule for buying a lottery ticket is to sign the ticket just in case you win. It’s a way to confirm ownership. The lottery organisers can always track down winners, but this is only easy if you pay using a debit or credit card. However, it’s harder if you pay by cash. It’ll be difficult to prove that the ticket is yours that way.

If you try claiming a lottery prize that isn’t yours, you might open yourself up to fraud charges. Instead, the best course of action may be to make a claim but inform the lottery that it isn’t yours. You may get to receive the prizes if a valid claim isn’t made in time.

Can You Cash In A Ripped Scratch Card?

Not only can scratch cards get lost, but they can also rip. One way to avoid a ripped scratch card is to double-check it before leaving the store. If you receive a damaged scratch card, return it without scratching it, and request a new one. 

A damaged or ripped scratch card is void as it could signify tampering.

One of the ways you can protect yourself from having a ripped scratch card is to store it safely. 

Ultimately, you are responsible for the condition of your scratch card after purchasing. If it becomes damaged at all, there’s a chance you may not receive your winnings.


We hope you feel more confident after learning about scratch cards and lottery tickets. But, of course, you can always go through the National Lottery website if you want to brush up on the rules again.