We got a question from a man in Sioux City asking just when and where winning lottery tickets can be cashed here in Iowa. It's something a lot of folks may have wondered about, so I'm sharing our answer with you here on the blog as well. The details take into account some very real issues in the retail environment.
First, remember that all prizes of more than $600 must be claimed at the lottery. There are two reasons for that: Our offices can provide greater security for you when you're claiming a larger amount of money, and there are tax forms you'll need to fill out when you're claiming a prize of that size. We have offices in Des Moines, Council Bluffs, Storm Lake, Mason City and Cedar Rapids. Prizes of up to $250,000 can be claimed at any of our offices; prizes larger than that must be claimed at lottery headquarters in Des Moines.
If it's a prize other than the jackpot, you have the option of signing and mailing the ticket to us along with a completed claim form. Jackpot prizes need to be claimed in person.
The lottery requires that its retailers pay prizes of up to $100. We ask that they pay prizes of up to $600, but not all stores have the cash on hand to do that. We all have to remember that security is a top priority for retailers and their staff, and cash on hand in a location often is kept to a minimum, especially at night.
If the retail location you've visited isn't able to pay your prize, you have a couple options: You might try to claim the prize at a larger store that sells lottery tickets, such as a supermarket. Because that type of business has a high customer traffic level, it may have the cash on hand to pay your prize. Or, you can visit one of our offices or send the ticket to us so we can validate it.
The type of game you played also is a factor. Prizes in our pull-tab games need to be claimed at the retail location where you purchased your ticket, or, for pull-tab prizes of more than $600, at a lottery office. Instant-scratch and lotto prizes can be claimed at any Iowa Lottery retail location or one of our offices as I’ve described.
And remember the deadlines for claiming prizes. Scratch and pull-tab tickets are valid for 90 days after the announced end of the game. Tickets in multi-state lotto games - Powerball, Mega Millions and Hot Lotto – are valid for 365 days from the date of the drawing. Tickets in Iowa's $100,000 Cash Game, Pick 3 and Pick 4 are valid for 90 days from the date of the drawing.