Multi-state lottery ticket sales to stop if state budget isn't passed

Illinois lottery winners may have to wait to collect

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In 2015, the Illinois Lottery was lacking Fiscal Year 2016 appropriation authority to pay winners until December, resulting in almost 3,900 valid claims being delayed, totaling more than $112 million. And fuel. And liquor. IL has suffered the similar situation in 2015 when the budget appropriation for 2016 was not announced and there were more than 3900 valid winning claims on hold to be paid off. "We get people coming in here ... just to play Powerball. It's something everybody's going to miss".

News reports the state's Generally Assembly is struggling to pass a budget for the 2018 fiscal year that would include lottery funding.

IL state lottery officials suspended Powerball ticket sales, and Mega Millions is expected to stop on Friday.

Greg Smith has announced that the Powerball gain would be suspended after 28th June and the Mega Million drawings would end on the temporary basis from 30th June.

If there is no budget deal, Powerball tickets sales in IL will stop on Wednesday night; Mega Million sales will stop Friday night in IL. In 2015, almost 4,000 people saw claims that totaled more than $112 million delayed (though they were eventually paid out), according to the Illinois Lottery.

IL lottery winners get their checks from the state comptroller's office, which can not legally cut checks without authorization in the budget. About 40% of each comes back to IL in revenue. People can still buy Illinois Lottery tickets as winners of jackpots more than $25,000 will have their payments delayed.

"It's very real", said Rob Karr, president of the Illinois Merchants Association.

If a budget is passed, ticket sales for Mega Millions will resume. "It goes far beyond the lottery", Senate Democratic spokesman John Patterson said in an emailed statement, Chicago Tribune reported. It's unclear whether any state has ever before been told to get out of the consortium.

IL is heading toward its third fiscal year with no state budget due largely to a war of wills between Republican Gov. Rauner, who is insisting on sweeping policy changes on issues like property taxes and state pensions in conjunction with any tax hikes, and the Democrat-controlled Legislature, which alleges Rauner is using the budget process to push nonbudgetary issues.

IL now faces $130 billion in unfunded pension payments and $15 billion in unpaid bills.

Rauner defenders such as state Sen. "This is one of the things that not having our financial house in order (causes)".

As for the budget, a record backlog of $14.7 billion in unpaid bills for operations leave IL at risk of becoming a "deadbeat" state, as one official put it, and its borrowing costs will spike even higher should a deteriorating credit rating drop some more. The lottery estimates it lost up to $71.5 million in revenue due to these delays. Leaders from both sides met this week to try to find a solution.

"It's frustrating", said Pat Hunter of Belleville, waiting in line at Route 3 Fuel & Liquor in Sauget.

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