Illinois Lottery Not Able to Pay Prizes on Time Amid State Budget Crisis
The Illinois State Lottery has warned the public that prize winners may face delays in receiving their money, following a budget crisis in the state. The Illinois lottery agency has also suspended sales of tickets for “Powerball” and “Mega Millions” lotteries, in an unprecedented move.
The State of Illinois is facing a severe budget crisis after failing to pass a fiscal budget for two straight years. Illinois State Lottery says that it is running out of state funding to pay for the lottery prizes.
Consequently, the lottery agency has announced that all players who win more than $25,000 will see delays in their prize payouts.
Illinois State Lottery stopped sales of Powerball tickets on June 28, while sales of Mega Millions tickets will be suspended on June 30. All tickets bought before these dates will remain valid. The ticket sales are expected to be resumed only after the state budget for fiscal-year 2018 is approved.
The state lottery had warned of a likely suspension earlier this month, as it began to run out of state funding. The decision to suspend ticket sales was made after the state lottery failed to reach an agreement with the Multi-State Lottery Association to pass the lottery budget.
The acting director of Illinois State Lottery, Greg Smith, has said that the agency does have the money to pay for prize claims. However, the payouts will be depending upon the state’s budget approval. “The General Assembly needs to approve a truly balanced budget that includes lottery funding in order to ensure that all prize payments will occur, ” said Smith.
The last time the state lottery delayed payments was back in 2015, when nearly 3,900 prize payouts were delayed. The postponed payouts at that time amounted to a total of $112.0 million. The delays caused the Illinois State Lottery to lose nearly $71.5 million in revenue.
The State of Illinois is facing a budget impasse between the Democrat-led Legislature and Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. They have failed to agree on a state budget plan for two straight years. The deadlock between the two sides has brought the state at the brink of bankruptcy.
“Powerball and Mega Millions Sales Suspended in Illinois in ‘Unprecedented Step’,” NBC News, June 28, 2017.