TN Man Finds His Lost $1 Million Lottery Ticket On Ground In Parking Lot

A lottery gambler in Tennessee avoided catastrophe over a winning $1 million ticket.

According to the Tennessee Lottery, a man who recently won a “Tennessee Cash” ticket worth $1,178,746 lost the ticket for at least an hour on March 11, before recovering it on the ground in a parking lot in the town of Sparta after a frantic search.

The ticket was unsigned, meaning that anyone who found it and realized it was a winner could have cashed it. More than likely, though, the ticket would have been seen as trash.

Bad beat of a lifetime averted

The gambler, Nick Slatten, checked the Tennessee Lottery app for the results of the drawing the night before. He still had the ticket in his possession when he realized he had won the massive prize. However, while he was out running errands he at some point lost the ticket, according to the Tennessee Lottery.

“Slatten immediately began retracing his steps and pulled into the O’Reilly’s [Auto Parts store] parking lot where he saw it lying on the ground, right next to the driver’s side door of another vehicle.”

“It’s a million-dollar ticket, and someone stepped right over it,” Slatten told the Lottery.

The Lottery said it was “breezy” that day, implying that it was a remarkable stroke of good fortune that the ticket didn’t blow away and remain lost for good.

“[I]t should be noted,” the Lottery said in a statement, “that lottery tickets are bearer instruments, just like cash. If a player loses his ticket, anyone can claim it. The Lottery always encourages players to sign their ticket immediately after purchase to identify it as theirs and to help prevent someone else from cashing it, in the event that it is lost or stolen.”

Slatten would have had months to locate the ticket he had been unsuccessful on March 11, but obviously each passing day probably would have reduced his chances. Unclaimed seven-figure lottery prizes aren’t unheard of. Just this week, a $1 million winning ticket sold in Rhode Island expired after remaining unclaimed for a year.

The record unclaimed prize in U.S. lottery history was a $77 million ticket in Georgia in 2011.

Photo by Annette Shaff /