National Lottery winners waiting weeks due to new rules

Close up of man filling in Lotto lottery slip
Close up of man filling in Lotto lottery slip -Credit:Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

National Lottery winners are facing weeks of delay due to new rules, as the EuroMillions jackpot reached a staggering £142 million.

Earlier this year, multinational lottery operator Allwyn took over the National Lottery from Camelot, introducing new rules in the process. This has altered how winners can collect their prize money, with the Post Office no longer distributing large rewards as it used to.

As a result, many winners have been left waiting weeks for their winnings. Under the new rules, winners of between £500 and £50,000 on Lottery games must follow an online process to claim their money. They need to provide their name, address, contact details, and email, along with a Prize Claim Form, within 180 days of their win.

Additionally, they must send their physical ticket to the office, reports Wales Online. However, these changes have caused significant delays for some winners, who previously could have collected their money within hours or days of their win, according to the Mirror.

Sergei Cofie-Squire, from Toxteth, is still waiting to receive his £1,500 National Lottery winnings after purchasing a ticket from WHSmith on March 19. The 61 year old had plans to spend the money on a holiday to Dubai but has been left frustrated by the delay in payment.

Despite sending in his ticket weeks ago, he has yet to receive his prize. Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, he shared his ordeal: "I have been in touch many times because I won on March 19. I have followed all the procedures and I'm still waiting. I've rang numerous times. Half the time I felt like I was talking to a brick wall. I could understand a seven-day delay, but not four weeks, which is unacceptable."

He continued, detailing his experience as a regular lottery player: "I'm a very regular Lottery player. You've got to be in it to win it. On March 19 I won the £1,500, so I went to the Post Office to try and collect my cheque, but I was told a new company had taken over. They give you a website you go to and put in all the details required, which is a photo of the winning ticket, front and back, and they then send you a QR code. Then you have to go to the Post Office with that code, and post the original ticket to them (Allwyn)."

Although he has proof that his ticket was received by National Lottery management on 4th April, Sergei has been eager to receive his prize. However, he was told that the delay is due to "inherited problems" with the new firm.

He vented: "Why do I have to wait so long to collect my winnings? I'm told it's a teething problem, but I say they should have thought of that before switching over. It's beginning to feel like a joke. All the processes I have gone through, and I've heard nothing from them."

"They have to see my point. I played the Lottery and paid my money and have won fairly, and have verified my ticket. But up to now I have been dragged from pillar to post. If there is a problem they should make an official announcement so people don't get frustrated."

However, Sergei isnt the only one experiencing lottery delays. Taxi driver Ray Laird from Merseyside, who won £800 after purchasing a ticket on March 2nd at a local shop, is also dealing with delays.

The 69 year old, who isnt tech-savvy enough to navigate online claims, had his daughter manage under the new procedures.

In a conversation with Liverpool Echo, he shared his frustration:"She did everything they asked and sent the tickets off. It was £800 I won. I phoned last week to enquire when I'm getting this money. Someone on the phone said to me 'well if you played online you wouldn't have this trouble' I thought 'this is disgusting'. I have bought tickets from 1994, why should I change now? "

The frustrated taxi driver, who had hoped to put the winnings towards his mortgage amidst rising bills, was initially informed that his cheque would be delivered on the upcoming Friday or by Monday at the latest. Despite this assurance, the funds failed to appear, and on Thursday, April 11, after enduring over an hour on hold, he was still left without a resolution.

He vented his exasperation: "£800 would have paid my mortgage this month. I'm a taxi driver, I'm struggling as it is. I'm 69 and still working so I can pay my mortgage. Times are tough at the moment, they are tough for everyone and I'm being crucified by the taxman for working and getting my pension, but I have to work. You can't win. Everyone is struggling so as soon as you get extra cash it is a relief of stress on your bills, we all need that relief."

He recounted a recent experience where he picked up a 93 year old woman from the hospital who struggled to pay for her ride home. He agreed to take a reduced fare, saying: "That woman had worked all her life in the hospital and now she is worrying about getting home, this is what we are living in today. Then today I'm paying for a job to get done on my car which is another expense. It's overly frustrating."

A spokesperson for Allwyn commented on the situation: "This is a new claims process we've had to introduce following the Post Office's decision to no longer pay National Lottery retail prizes between £500.01 and £50,000. As a result of it being new, we've been experiencing higher volumes of players contacting us and some initial delays to players receiving their prizes."

"We've since increased the number of colleagues to assist with claims which is helping us send out prizes more quickly and are continuing to work to make improvements to the process. For example, we recently started a trial where anyone winning under £1,000 no longer needs to send in their winning ticket to us to help speed up the process. We're also reminding players that prizes of up to £500 can still be paid out in-store."

For details on claiming prize money from National Lottery games, visit the website.