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Lost and Damaged Lottery Tickets - What You Should Do

If you have lost your lottery ticket or it has been damaged, you could miss out on any prizes it had won. It's therefore your responsibility as a player to keep your entries safe. However, the National Lottery will try to help if possible, so there are steps you can take if your ticket goes missing or is no longer intact. Find out more about what to do if you find yourself in this situation.

Policy on Tickets

National Lottery operator Ithuba's basic policy on paying out prizes is simple. You must have a valid winning ticket to be able to claim a prize, and you must come forward within 365 days of the draw. The National Lottery operator regards the holder of a ticket as the rightful winner, even if their name, signature and identity number does not appear on the entry.

However, the lottery has the right to conduct extra checks in relation to any win so as to verify the identity of the claimant. These checks are also carried out to confirm that the information provided by the claimant matches up with the lottery's own official records and all of the details on the ticket.

If you are not able to present a valid winning ticket before the claims deadline, the lottery has no obligation to pay out and you should not expect to receive a prize.

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    Lost and Stolen Tickets

    If you have misplaced your ticket, you should start by checking anywhere it could be. Think about the clothes you were wearing when you bought it, any bags or wallets you were carrying, places around the house you might have left it or if it could have dropped down in the car. If it is lost and you think it may have been a winning entry, you need to contact the National Lottery and file an incident report.

    The National Lottery is happy to assist players who have genuinely mislaid a winning ticket or had one stolen from them. However, it is up to you to provide sufficient information to prove that you are a rightful winner. Without your entry, this is hard but still achievable.

    You'll just need to know as many details as possible about the ticket you lost, such as the time you bought it and the store where you purchased it. Be as specific as you can with this information as the National Lottery's central computer system stores precise information about when and where big winning tickets were processed.

    You should also specify the numbers you played, whether you chose them yourself or went with a Quick Pick, how many boards you selected and how many draws in advance you entered. Describe how you think it was lost or the circumstances in which it was stolen.

    The lottery will investigate claims at its own discretion and may pay out prizes after the 365-day deadline has passed if there is enough evidence to support an appeal. If the winning ticket is found before the claims deadline, the National Lottery will examine what might have happened and who has brought it forward before coming to a decision.

    Damaged Tickets

    It's important to not only keep hold of your ticket, but also make sure it stays in good condition. Avoid it coming into contact with any water and keep it from becoming torn, because if it is damaged in any way it may no longer be valid.

    Depending on the extent of the damaged ticket, the National Lottery may still be able to pay out prizes. The first step is to see if the serial number is still intact and readable, as the ticket can then simply be reconstructed and validated.

    If your ticket has been damaged, you should be ready to provide all the information you can to the lottery about the details that are missing, in addition to when and where you played.

    Contacting the National Lottery

    If your ticket has been lost or damaged, you can contact the National Lottery by email at or by post at Private Bag X60, Gallo Manor, 2052. Alternatively, you can speak to your retailer directly if they are unable to redeem a prize. Go to the How to Claim page to find out the locations of the regional offices around the country.

    Keeping Your Ticket Safe

    If you buy tickets from a retailer and worry they may get lost or damaged, consider how to keep them safe. You could find a secure place and always put them there as soon as you buy them, then check quickly after each draw. If you only check your tickets occasionally, you may forget where you keep them.

    You should sign the back of your ticket and write down your identity number. While this does not guarantee its safety, it means that nobody else would be able to claim a prize on it without an investigation. If your ticket gets lost, it also increases the chances of it being returned to you if it has been signed.

    The safest way to play is online, as there is no paper ticket to keep intact. Your numbers are stored so they can't be lost, stolen or damaged. What's more, you don't have to check the results either. You'll be notified if you win and the majority of prizes will be paid straight into your account.