Mike Douglas is like the rest of us. When he doesn't hit the big lottery jackpot he usually just tosses his ticket.
"You buy them and then just throw them in the draw and then you forget to check them. So, you know, you never know if you win or not," Douglas said.
Millions of dollars in unclaimed lottery prizes are never cashed in. For example, more than $195,000 never was claimed at a Chesterfield Township Meijer and $110,000 was never claimed at a Kroger in Farmington Hills.
Money gets left behind when tickets either expire, get lost or end up in the trash. Lottery officials say players often forget there are eight ways to win on every ticket in addition to the top prize. Jackpot or not, a ticket holder could be entitled to cash and not even know it.
"If you throw your ticket away then you are throwing money away," said Randy Hallak, of Minute Stop Food in Redford Township.