Metro-East News

Illinois Lottery to delay payments of more than $25,000 due to budget impasse

Illinois Lottery plans to start delaying payments to people with prizes of more than $25,000 and suspend sales of Powerball and Mega Millions tickets, according to a news release.

The payment delays, which also occurred in 2015, are because there has been no resolution to the ongoing state budget impasse.

The payment policy is scheduled to go into effect July 1.

“Players should be confident knowing the Illinois Lottery has the money to pay these winning claims,” Illinois Lottery Acting Director Greg Smith said. “That means the General Assembly needs to approve a truly balanced budget that includes Lottery funding in order to ensure all prize payments will occur.”

As part of the new policy, valid claims of more than $25,000 will be delayed in payments because of the comptroller’s inability to make payments on behalf of the lottery without an appropriation.

Because of the lack of an appropriations agreement for the 2018 fiscal year, the lottery plans to suspend Powerball and Mega Millions sales in Illinois.

In 2015, the lottery didn’t have a 2016 appropriation authority to pay winners until December, resulting in nearly 3,900 valid claims being delayed, totaling more than $112 million. Within a month of receiving an appropriation, all valid claims were paid to winners, the Illinois Lottery news release said.

What it means:

▪  Powerball sales in Illinois will be suspended at 9 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets purchased before then will be valid.

▪  All active Powerball subscriptions will be canceled after the last draw Wednesday. Refunds will be issued to players for the remaining length of their subscriptions.

▪  When a fiscal year 2018 appropriation for the Illinois Lottery is passed, the Lottery will work with the Multi-State Lottery Association to determine a path for the return of Powerball sales.

▪  Mega Millions sales in Illinois will be suspended at 9:45 p.m. Friday. Tickets purchased before then will be valid.

▪  All active Mega Millions subscriptions will be canceled after the last draw Friday. The lottery will issue refunds to players for the remaining length of their subscriptions.

▪  When a fiscal year 2018 appropriation is adopted, sales for Mega Millions will resume.

▪  Players with valid claims of any amount who owe money to the state, via an “offset,” will experience a delay in payments.

▪  At this time, the Illinois Lottery will continue to pay valid claims of $25,000 or less at any of the five Illinois Lottery Prize Centers located in Chicago, Des Plaines, Fairview Heights, Rockford and Springfield.

▪  Prizes of $600 or less will continue to be paid at the lottery’s retail locations.

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