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Problem Gamblers in Oklahoma Receiving Help Thanks to Unclaimed Tickets

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An ironic situation is taking place in the state of Oklahoma. People who have gambling problems are receiving help and treatment from the most unlikely of sources, lottery winners.

State governments will claim that legalized gambling will cause harm for people who have addiction problems. They also will be the first in line to pass gambling legislation if it will relieve financial strain.

In Oklahoma, problem gambling is being attacked in a creative way, from the state lottery. $500,000 will go towards education and treatment for problem gamblers. That money will come from winning prizes in the lottery that were never claimed.

By law, winners have 180 days to claim their winnings. The latest prize to not be claimed is a $200,000 winning ticket from the June 27th drawing of the state's Powerball game. If not claimed by today at 5 P.M., the winners will forfeit their right to the money.

In any given year, the first $500,000 in unclaimed prizes goes to help assist in educating problem gamblers and also treating them.

Most likely the tickets from the June drawing will not be redeemed. "Those tickets have probably passed through the laundry several times by now," said Lottery Director Jim Scroggins.

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