Lottery claim centers close due virus outbreak

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The N.C. Education Lottery has temporarily closed its claim centers to help protect the safety of lottery players, employees and the public during the coronavirus outbreak.

Beginning Monday, all claim centers will be closed through at least Tuesday, March 31. The closure includes the claim centers in Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh and Wilmington.

“At this time our primary focus is the safety of our employees, players and partners,” said Mark Michalko, executive director of the lottery. “We are following the advice of local, state and federal officials. Closing our claim centers is an additional measure that is appropriate at this time to help protect our communities.”

The lottery’s recommendation is that players with winning tickets should sign the back of their tickets and secure them safely. The lottery plans to extend claim deadlines for all winning tickets that could expire during this time. When the state lifts its order banning large gatherings of people and school closures, players will have until 30 days after that date to claim those prizes that otherwise would have expired.

“We understand that many players do not want to travel to our offices at this time,” Michalko said, “We want to assure those with winning tickets that their prizes will be paid.”

Here is what this means for players. Lottery tickets with prizes up to $599 can still be cashed at retail locations. Lottery tickets with prizes of $600 or more should be signed and secured safely.

Winners will have 30 days after the state lifts its order banning large gatherings of people to claim prizes on those tickets if they expire before then. Winners of prizes of $100,000 or more must still claim the prize in person.

Lottery ticket with wins of $600 or more can be mailed in, but winners should expect delays in the processing of those claims. Claim forms can be downloaded from the lottery’s website by visiting www.nclottery.com/claimprizes. The lottery cannot guarantee the delivery of claims so a winner might want to mail with tracking or delivery notification enabled.

The lottery’s customer service operation will continue to staff the toll-free helpline to assist lottery players with questions. The toll-free customer services line is 1-877-962-7529. It is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

All drawings will continue as scheduled, including multistate games such as Powerball, Mega Millions, Lucky for Life and state games such as Carolina Keno, Carolina Cash 5, Carolina Pick 4, and Carolina Pick 3.

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