Cash in on the lottery with these apps

Screens from the LottoLotto app
Source: iTunes
Screens from the LottoLotto app

This week's Mega Millions winner could take home $180 million. While Americans snap up tickets, hoping to hit a life-changing jackpot, every year tens of millions of tickets—and more than a billion dollars in prize money—go unclaimed.

A Massachussets lottery ticket that pays the holder $25,000 per year for life remains unclaimed almost a year after it was sold. And a $200,000 LA County lottery ticket still is unclaimed. Now a number of apps are popping up to fix that problem, and help people cash in.

LottoLotto, which launched in late June, aims to be a one-stop-shop for managing lottery tickets. You use the app to take a photo of your ticket. If the drawing has already taken place, it tells you whether you've won. If it hasn't taken place, it alerts you once it has and tells you whether you have cash to collect.

"People forget that just because they didn't win the jackpot, there are a multitude of other tickets that are winners. So if you look at any given drawing there are hundreds of thousands of winning tickets, and they range from a dollar, two dollars, to as much as five or six million," says LottoLotto CEO Brett Jacobson, who co-founded the company with one of Farmville's creators. "This is a great way for people to remember to check their tickets."

LottoLotto doesn't charge for the app, which has been downloaded 25,000 times. The company makes money by charging retailers a monthly fee to promote their shops as a place to buy, and cash in tickets. Jacobson says they have contracts and deals in the works with about 87,000 stores, to pay between $20 and $99 a month.

Retailers are eager to pay because while they don't make money on selling the tickets, they're a valuable driver of traffic to drive other product sales, he adds.

The company's on track for $1.9 million in revenue in October, with $1.55 million in profits, and Jacobson says he is about to close a funding round at a $100 million valuation.

Yet, LottoLotto isn't the only app to help collect lottery winnings—there's another called ScanMyLotto.

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Another lottery app takes an entirely different focus: Lottolishus is focused on lottery pools. It helps build and manage lottery pools, to increase your chances of winning. For $4 a week for Megamillions or $6 a week for Powerball, players buy into a pool. The app aims to leverage social networks to grow the pool by encouraging users to invite friends on Facebook and Twitter to buy in, too.

"On average, 30 percent of our Powerball players and 70 percent of our Mega Millions players will win something every draw," says CEO David Hardcastle. "Our goal is to have a million players in the pool as quickly as possible. With a worldwide market of more than $300 billion in lottery play, we just need a small percentage to hit our goal."

Hardcastle won't reveal how many users he has so far, just saying that the company started seeding the pool at the end of June, and that they are "growing at a very rapid pace."

—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin