Illinois Lottery suspends Powerball, Mega Millions amid budget crisis

Laura Christensen
July 1, 2017

What's more, anyone who wins any prize of $25,000 or more will have to wait to collect the money.

Though suspending Powerball and Mega Millions is meant to combat a budget crisis, the stoppage of the games could hurt the state's bottom line.

The Midwestern state has been struggling financially recently, and an impasse between a Republican governor and a Democrat legislator could go into its third year if an agreement isn't reached by July 1.

Convenience stores in Kenosha have already noticed more players from IL stopping in to buy tickets. This has been the second meeting after December when the first meeting was held to get into an agreement.

Members of the IL gaming community insist that the state has the means to pay for the winnings of either lottery, if a victor is to be drawn today or Friday. It has $15 billion unpaid bills and owes a quarter-trillion dollars to public employees.

Powerball sales in IL will be suspended Wednesday at 9 p.m. Mega Millions will be suspended Friday at 9:45 p.m.

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But the multistate consortiums that operate the big jackpots aren't feeling confident that their games will maintain integrity in IL so they've put in place plans to suspend the games.

Steve Brown, a spokesman for Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, Rauner's chief nemesis in Springfield, implied Wednesday that some of the latest lottery problems are "a self-inflicted injury" by the administration, to put pressure on Democrats to deal.

"I would expect that lottery players will look for other options, unfortunately", said Schimpf, whose district includes border areas in the lower Metro East.

"Players should be confident knowing the Illinois Lottery has the money to pay these winning claims", Illinois Lottery acting Director Greg Smith said.

Illinois Lottery officials did warn of the suspension earlier this month. The lottery estimates it lost up to $71.5 million in revenue due to these delays.

Other reports by My Hot News

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