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When Is It Too Late to Cash a Winning Bet or Lottery Ticket?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on February 04, 2019 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

For millions who bet on the Patriots to win the Super Bowl (again) last night, they'll be looking to cash in those winnings today. (Just as long as they didn't also bet the over.) While most of us would try to cash that winning ticket in ASAP, there could be quite a few reasons you might have to wait: maybe you placed the bet while on vacation to Las Vegas, and need to cash it in person at the casino; or maybe, after all that celebrating, you need to track down exactly where you stashed the ticket.

Either way, the clock is ticking. And time limits could also apply to winning lottery tickets. So how long do you have to cash a winning lotto ticket or sports bet?

Winning Team

Gone are the days when a sports book would cash a winning ticket no matter how old. Also gone are the days when the only state that allowed legal sports gambling was Nevada. So, not only will different casinos have different expiration dates on their sports tickets, but different states may regulate how you can collect those winnings differently. When it comes to Las Vegas, professional gaming consultant Michael Shackleford has this advice:

According to Nevada Gaming Regulation 22.080, a spots bet can expire in as little as 30 days after the date of the event. If you find yourself with an expired ticket, the vast majority of the time the sports book will honor it anyway if you mail it in, per the instructions on the back of the ticket. They will have to verify that the bet really did win, because it will no longer be in the system. They may also check it against a list of lost tickets paid. In the unlikely event that the accounting department denies the ticket, I would suggest going through the chain of command in the casino, and politely ask them to honor the bet anyway. Based on personal experience, I would recommend against presenting an expired ticket in person. I think you are more likely to be denied that way.

Other states may have easier methods for cashing in, along with other restrictions. Online betting sites like DraftKings and FanDuel allow bettors to withdraw their earnings through either PayPal or a check, generally with no deadline. On the other hand, you need to collect some bets in person. Delaware, for instance, requires football parlays that win more than $600 must be cashed at one of Delaware's three sportsbooks or the Delaware Lottery office in Dover, and most tickets must be cashed within one year from date of issue.

Winning Numbers

Winning lottery tickets also expire, generally a year after purchase. State lottery laws can vary, however, and it may depend on the type of ticket sold.

If you're worried a winning sports bet or lottery ticket has expired, or a sports book or state lottery office is refusing to accept a winning ticket, contact a local attorney for help.

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