We've all just won €16m! Lotto to return millions in unclaimed prize money to the State

Did you lose a Lotto ticket over the years? It could have been worth a few bob...

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The regulator of the National Lottery says €16 million in unclaimed prizes is being returned to the State.

The money will be returned to the Exchequer following an agreement with the current operator, Premier Lotteries Ireland.

The sum relates to prizes not claimed by winners by the ticket expiry date and the prize money had accumulated over 27 years.

It marks the conclusion of a lengthy dispute which dates back to 2014, when the National Lottery was privatised and sold to Canadian-owned Premier Lotteries Ireland (PLI).

As part of the process, PLI inherited just over €16m in unclaimed prize money from the previous licence holder, An Post.

According to the Irish Examiner, the 2014 licence did not say specifically what should happen to this money as the National Lottery transitioned to the new licence.

But the issue has been resolved by an amendment to the licence following a review by the regulator.

Carol Boate is regulator of the National Lottery and she said: "Following thorough consideration of the matter I had concluded that there was no basis for the money to be used by the current operator.

"This agreement with the operator now means the money can be returned to the Exchequer without delay for use by good causes, further ensuring that funds for this purpose are maximised at this time."