Irish eyes may be smiling, all the way to the bank.
A winning $325,000 Cash 5 Pennsylvania Lottery ticket sold March 10, 2013 at My Hometown Mini Mart, Tamaqua, hasn't been claimed. If it's not claimed by its one-year anniversary, the money will go back to the state.
The winner does not have to claim the prize at the Tamaqua store; the prizes can be claimed at other lottery locations or by calling the lottery. If that happens, the store will be notified immediately.
That hasn't happened yet, and time is running out.
"I remember that day because I was really, really busy and worked 10 hours," said Nicole Horack, a clerk at My Hometown Mini Mart. "There were St. Patty's Day parades in Jim Thorpe and Ashland, and all kinds of people were in and out of here."
The Mini Mart is located at the intersection of state routes 309 and 54, which puts it about midpoint between the parades. Horack said that it was easy to tell that some of the customers had been "enjoying" the day to a greater extent than others.
"A lot of people just wanted to use the bathroom," she recalled.
The Cash Five ticket was a "quick pick" meaning that the computer picked the numbers. The winning numbers are 03, 06, 15, 27 and 29. The odds of winning were 1 in 962,598.
"Most of our customers play the same numbers day after day," Horack said. "Another customer thought that her ticket had gotten down behind her dash."
"She could see a portion of a lottery ticket receipt sticking out of a vent, and she took the car somewhere to get them to take off the dash," she continued. "It was a lottery receipt but it was for Big Four, and not a winner."
Each year, throughout the country, more than $800 million worth of lottery prizes are not collected. In fact, last year a $10.4 million dollar winning ticket in the Florida lottery was unclaimed, and expired.
The clock is ticking for somebody's $325,000.
"It was really a long shot for somebody to win it," Horack said. "And now it's starting to be a long shot that somebody's going to claim it after this long."