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news blog > article

Damaged tickets can still take home big prizes

January 18, 2024 Posted by NC Lottery at 2:03 PM

What if you won a big prize but couldn't claim it because the ticket was damaged?

The lottery wants to help all players claim their prizes, so we perform reconstructions when a player submits a ticket that can't be validated through traditional means. We do it to help pay every player who wins!

One lucky winner took home a $1 million prize in March because of our commitment to ticket reconstruction.

“That’s a great thing that you guys do to help people with damaged tickets,” he said. “I had no idea that some lotteries don’t do that.”

The winner purchased a scratch-off ticket from a convenience store in Burlington but he threw his ticket in the trash after scratching it.

“I thought it wasn’t a winner,” he said. “I decided to double check it and that’s when I realized I won.”

When he brought the ticket in to lottery headquarters in Raleigh, the ticket had a rip in it and the win initially could not be validated. But after the lottery went through its ticket reconstruction process, it validated his big win and he received his $1 million prize.

Joseph Cosgriff, director of security at the lottery, said that ticket reconstruction is an important process that the lottery utilizes to help winners claim their prizes.

“We take all available measures available to us to ensure that all players get paid,” Cosgriff said.

So, what do we do?

When a player presents a damaged ticket to try and claim a prize at a claims center, lottery staff will take that ticket and attempt to reconstruct it. If the ticket is a scratch-off, we work with our ticket printer to have the ticket reconstructed. As long as we have sufficient data on the ticket, reconstruction can be done.

If the ticket is a draw game ticket, we do that in-house. For that, we must have enough data to identify a printed ticket from a retailer. This may also include traveling to the retailer location and working with the retailer for additional details to assist us with the reconstruction. While we try our best to reconstruct all damaged tickets, we cannot guarantee it for every ticket.

Did you know:

  • We average about 500 reconstruction requests a year.
  • Since January 2015, the lottery has reconstructed over 4,000 tickets
  • About 85% are winning tickets and about 15% are non-winning tickets

Ticket reconstruction occurs because the lottery is committed to helping every single player claim their prize whenever possible.

Check out the video below giving an overview of the reconstruction process:


Login to leave a comment.

2/02/2024 10:34 - Edith A.

The digital games is losers. I cannot even get a free play. No more digital games for me. Better off buying a scratch off. Has anyone ever won yet on these things?

2/01/2024 06:14 - michael b.

Good luck to me tonight with the cash 5

1/21/2024 11:14 - Kevin M.

Sounds crazy but my dog ate my ticket which was a $4.00 winner for the mega number. Most of the ticket is there but two lower corners are missing—ingested by the dog. Only a $4.00 winner but would like to claim if possible.NC Lottery
Hey there, Kevin! We'd love to help with this! If the barcode is still visible on the ticket, you can claim it yourself at any lottery retailer, but if the barcode was damaged, you can come in to one of our lottery claim centers and we can attempt to reconstruct this for you.

1/21/2024 08:19 - Roger K.

I'm glad I don't mess with that on line play. I'll hate to wait 10 days to get my winnings.

1/21/2024 08:16 - Roger K.

Yeah, I find lots of them in the trash torn in half. I try to find both halves, just in case it's a big winner. I use my phone to scan the bar code to see if it's a winner. Most of the time, there're not. But at least I got the points from it.

1/19/2024 01:19 - Douglas H.

Very cool that they’re able to do for damaged tickets. :-)

1/18/2024 08:46 - Michael B.

Hey NCEL. Will there be a winning section for digital games?NC Lottery
Hi, Michael! This is something we hope to have added to our website in the future - stay tuned! :D

1/18/2024 06:15 - William A.

Damaged tickets? I would just like to get my money from Online play. It’s like pulling teeth to get your winnings! Just a click to take my money but hard to get it. 10 days got denied. I have chatted with 3 people. I just resent my withdrawal request. I hope I get this time.NC Lottery
Hi, William! We're so sorry for the delay. Due to the high volume of requests we've been receiving recently, it is currently taking up to 7-10 business days for our team to process first-time withdrawal requests, as they work to review identity verification documentation. This process only needs to be completed for first-time withdrawals to a particular payment method, so future requests to the same payment method should not require this delay. Please know that cancelling and re-submitting a request can disrupt your place in the requests queue, which may lead to longer wait times. We appreciate your patience as we work to process your request as quickly as possible, and apologize for any inconvenience caused by this delay.

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