If you're anything like me, you've occasionally dreamt about what it would be like to win a big lottery jackpot. Being able to pay off bills, your mortgage, buy a new car, or pay for college for your kids. It is for that reason this story makes me so sad. A $1 million lottery prize here in Iowa is still unclaimed, and the winner is running out of time!

The Des Moines Register reports that the $1 million Mega Millions ticket was purchased at a Gateway Expresse on University Blvd. in Ames, Iowa. A winning ticket is valid for one year after the winning date. That date is coming up quickly...September 6th! So why hasn't the winner come forward?

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The first reason that comes to my mind is that they lost the ticket, or perhaps threw it away when they found out they didn't win the main prize. I'm not sure how you don't notice you've just won a million dollars, but I digress. Another possibility? Perhaps the winner passed away and never told anyone about his or her winning lottery ticket. These are a few of the scenarios rattling around my brain. But if you think that this is an unusual occurrence, think again!

The Register reports that each year between $1 and $2 million in lottery prizes expire without being claimed. Last year over $1.5 million in prizes went unclaimed. What happens to that money? State law dictates that the money goes back to the lottery and is used for other prizes and giveaways. The lesson here is never to throw away a lottery ticket just because you think you didn't win a prize. Who knows? You might have just thrown away a million dollars!

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