The COVID-19 grace period for Michigan Lottery players to cash winning tickets past their expiration dates is coming to an end.
Last Wednesday, the Michigan Lottery announced that expiration dates will be reinstated beginning Friday, Aug. 28, and that those in possession of winning tickets have until the end of this week to claim their prizes.
The temporary suspension of expiration dates was announced in March, when high COVID-19 infection rates in and around Detroit made Michigan one of the early U.S. epicenters of the pandemic. To encourage residents to follow Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s shelter-at-home orders and other restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus, the Michigan Lottery shuttered its claim centers and promised to honor winning tickets that expired after the March shutdown.
Now, as the state attempts to balance its economic reopening with continued disease prevention, the Lottery is asking players to cash any remaining past-expiry tickets by Friday.
Holders of winning tickets that expired in recent months can claim their prizes by mailing their tickets to the Michigan Lottery office in Lansing, by dropping off tickets at one of the state’s claim centers (which re-opened in June), or by scheduling an in-person appointment at a claim center. Prizes worth $100,000 or more must be claimed in-person. Scratch-off lottery tickets have expiration dates printed on their backs, while draw games like Daily 3 and Lotto 47 expire one year after the date of the drawing.
— Michigan Lottery (@MILottery) August 23, 2020
Online players still struggling with password reset
As the Michigan Lottery reminds customers to cash any lingering expired tickets, the state body also continues to deal with fallout from a website update last week that left up to 9,000 players locked out of their online accounts.
“An issue has been identified that impacted the delivery of password-reset emails to some account holders,” explained Lottery spokesperson Jake Harris. “These emails were erroneously flagged as spam by email providers and were significantly delayed, diverted to junk folders, or blocked entirely. A fix has been implemented and password-reset emails should now be functioning properly.
“Players who attempted to recently reset their password and were unable to complete the process should receive a new password-reset email soon without the need for an additional request,” Harris continued. “We recognize the frustration caused by this error and the longer than usual hold times with customer service. We strive to provide outstanding player experiences and service every day, and this error did not meet that expectation. We appreciate players’ patience and continued support as we correct this error. Impacted accounts will receive a follow-up communication next week to ensure players were able to successfully reset their password and provide more information about how the Lottery plans to make this error right.”
As of last week, nearly 30,000 of the 47,000 password-reset emails triggered by the update still had not been opened by the online account holders who received them. On Monday morning, despite the Michigan Lottery’s efforts to resolve the technical snafu, replies to the Lottery’s social media accounts reflected continued frustration from players who haven’t been able to access their online accounts or play online-only versions of Instant Win, Keno, and Lottery Draw games.
Even unrelated posts reminding players to cash past-due tickets by Friday have been peppered with comments from online customers affected by the password-reset glitch. In response to an expiration date reminder post published Sunday on the Michigan Lottery Facebook account, a user named Brooke Frickie wrote: “What about locked out of the account due to a lovely update by you and unable to get in after email and online chat?”