How to Tell if a Lottery Ticket Has Been Cashed

Imagine finding a lottery ticket and finding out that it could bring you a reward. If it’s not expired yet, how do you check it to see if it has been cashed already?

The lottery takes away tickets that have been cashed, so if you found one, it means that it almost certainly hasn’t been cashed. Your next steps are to check the terms and conditions of the specific lottery to see if it’s still valid and look up if the numbers are the winning numbers.

The lottery officials, no matter what game you play, are quite strict in their methods, so a ticket can’t be claimed twice. But if you find a ticket that you believe could be a winning one, there are ways you can check if you can redeem it. If you want to know how this entire process works, read on.

What Happens to Lottery Tickets Once Someone Redeems Them?

What Happens to Lottery Tickets Once Someone Redeems Them?

The lottery officials, as mentioned, take great care to make sure that no one scams them. They are well aware of all the methods that someone could use, so the winning tickets are scrutinized until determined that they are real.

If you find a ticket that you believe can be cashed in for a prize, you can. The bearer of the ticket gets the money, even if you didn’t buy it, but just found it. This is why the lottery often recommends signing a ticket and keeping it as safe as possible before redeeming.

Lottery tickets are quite small and they can easily get lost. If you found a ticket that could get you a prize, you’re lucky — but make sure that there’s no one looking for it. If they have copies or other forms of proof that the ticket is theirs, you could end up in trouble.

However, there is virtually no way that you can find a winning ticket that has been cashed in on already. The lottery has a strong system and no ticket, no matter what game, can be claimed twice.

When a customer shows up at the retailer’s store with their winning ticket, if the prize is small, meaning anything less than $600, the customer gets the money, but the retailer takes away their ticket. The ticket gets sent to the commission, which checks the ticket to see if it’s a real one or not.

So, you wouldn’t be able to find it or cash in on it again.

If the prize is medium — anything between $600 and $5000 — the customer would, again, go to the retailer. However, medium prizes are not paid out with the retailer, but rather with the lottery officials or in some other way. Still, the customer would get the ticket back after thorough checking and a form that claims that the money should be paid to the bearer.

Now, in this case, you may be able to find the ticket if the customer loses it on their way to the lottery officials, but you would still need a bearer form to get the money. In some cases, though, you might be able to take the money without it, but that’s only for specific lotteries.

Once the customer gets to the lottery officials to claim their medium prize, their ticket would be taken away for thorough checking so they can see it’s valid, and it wouldn’t be given back to the customer once they get the money.

Finally, if a customer wins the jackpot, they would likely go straight to the lottery. Once there, the ticket would be taken away for checking, and the customer would be given money after 5 to 10 days in most cases. But, the ticket remains with the lottery in question.

In the case of jackpot winners, though, most of them would take all the necessary precautions, so they don’t lose the ticket and so that no one can steal it. This means keeping it in a safe, signing it, taking pictures with it or videos, etc.

Jackpot winners usually need more time to claim their tickets. Most of them want to find a way to stay anonymous, set up their finances and their living situation, perhaps start a trust, communicate with financial professionals, deal with their own emotions, and so on.

They also have to choose between being paid in an annuity or lump sum. They have the time for it, though, as most states allow up to 90 days or more (in certain states) for the winner to claim the money.

But, in conclusion, you wouldn’t be able to find a cashed ticket. The only ticket you could find is the one that hasn’t been cashed in yet. So, if you do find a ticket like this, there are certain steps to take to ensure that you can actually get something out of it and that you can legally claim the money.

How to Check if a Lottery Ticket Is a Winner?

How to Check if a Lottery Ticket Is a Winner?

Now that you know that the ticket you’ve found hasn’t been cashed, you need to find out whether the numbers — or the scratched area — are winners. If you follow the lottery, you might already know that it is or the numbers may seem familiar to you. But if you don’t, then you’re probably not sure.

Scratch tickets are pretty easy to check. If the symbols on them match and you were able to find it, that means that the ticket is still up for grabs. The only thing you need to find out is whether it’s expired or not. More on that later.

The tickets with numbers are much harder to figure out. You’ll need to look up the numbers for the specific lottery that the ticket is for. But even then, you need to make sure that the ticket is valid and that you can claim money if there is money to claim.

The good news here is that most lottery tickets only expire after a year or 18 months. This includes Powerball, Lottery West, etc. So, you might still have time to claim it, if you find it on time. Some lottery tickets expire after much longer, so there’s still a chance. To see how much time you have, go to the specific lottery the ticket is from and look up their terms and conditions.

Then, check the date on your ticket and see if there’s time. If yes, then that’s a good sign.

However, you still have to check if the ticket is a winner. If you already know, the only thing you need to do is go cash it in. If the prize is smaller, you can do so with the retailer — any retailer, it doesn’t have to be the one where the ticket was bought. If the prize is medium to the jackpot, make sure that you sign it and keep it safe before cashing in on it.

If you got a jackpot on your hands, you need to face the same issues all winners face — figuring out your future and what to do with all that money. It’s best to keep quiet about it, though.

But if you’re not sure whether it’s a winner or not, your next step should be to go to NSW lotteries website and look up the numbers. This is the best solution if the ticket is a few months old. If it’s newer, you’ll be able to check the numbers on the website of the lottery itself because most have announcements that date at least a month or two back.

If the ticket you found turns out not to be a winner, do not throw away it, they can still turn out to be useful! Or at least you can check if it is recyclable.


Finding a lottery ticket that hasn’t been cashed is probably just as lucky as winning the lottery itself. However, be careful when you are trying to cash it in. Remember to check if you can at all and make sure that there isn’t a signature on the back.

Someone may be looking for it, so be careful about that as well. If they have proof that the ticket is theirs, you could end up with no money. Although, if you surrender the ticket without struggle, the person winning may be kind enough to give you a reward. Still, it’s best if the ticket seems entirely abandoned.