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 DENVER (KDVR) — Peter Bayley had big dreams when he played the Powerball lottery last spring.

“My wife and I would do some traveling” he said. 

While he didn’t win millions, the numbers he picked generated $1,500.

The state mandates that winning tickets must be turned in within six months. A pandemic extension allowed anyone who bought a ticket between the April 6 and 30 to receive an extra 30 days to claim winnings. 

The Lottery office was closed to the public for a brief period of time, then quickly reopened. During that time, tickets could be submitted through certified mail and at several other outlets.  

Bayley tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers he decided to wait to turn In his ticket.

“I guess I could have used certified mail but it just didn’t feel comfortable at the time,” he said.

Unfortunately, when Bayley did turn in his ticket, he missed the deadline to collect his winnings by just three days.

“It’s totally on me. It was my mistake. I thought the extension of three days would be something they could live with,” he said. 

Colorado Lottery spokesperson Meghan Dougherty tells the Problem Solvers the program upholds  strict rules that are mandated by the state.

“It’s really important we keep to the rules. Otherwise, everybody would want to potentially change the rules”   

Lottery regulations are stated on the program’s website.

Dougherty emphasizes that everyone should become familiar with the guidelines before playing the lottery.

“We want them to have those prizes and get that money,” she said.

She added that sending in your ticket by certified mail is a secure option, recalling one instance where “we actually had a $100,000 ticket winner who mailed it into us.”

Proceeds, including unclaimed winnings, support Great Outdoors Colorado, The Conservation Trust Fund, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado Department of Education.

Colorado’s state lottery is the only one in the nation that funds conservation programs, raising more than $3.5 billion.

Bayley tells FOX31 he feels good about contributing to the community but has this advice for anyone else who picks winning numbers.

“Go ahead call email, make an appointment and get that money in your hands as soon as possible so you don’t end up like this,” he said.

Dougherty tells FOX31 if your winnings are less than $600, you can collect your money at one of 3,200 retail locations. If you win $600 or more, tickets may be submitted at the lottery office but you must make an appointment. Pandemic safety guidelines are in effect.