Illinois Lottery to Halt Powerball and Mega Millions SalesFriday June 16th 2017
The Illinois Lottery has confirmed that sales of Powerball and Mega Millions will be suspended at the end of June unless an agreement can be reached to end the state’s budget impasse. Players will then have to cross state lines if they wish to take part, but the timeframe for a possible return to the game is unclear.
The decision to drop Powerball and Mega Millions has been taken because ‘the groups that own and operate these two popular games will not permit Illinois to sell the games without funds available to pay prizes’, according to an updated FAQ page on the state lottery’s website. Illinois needs a budget in place to be authorized to make such payments, and at present there is a financial stalemate.
A special session will be held in the state to try to resolve the economic deadlock, but otherwise Powerball tickets will be halted after the drawing on Wednesday June 28th and Mega Millions will be brought to an end after the game on Friday June 30th. The suspension will remain in place ‘until further notice’.
Illinois Lottery Director Greg Smith has expressed his disappointment that players will be ‘denied the opportunity to play these popular games’. However, fans have been assured that once an agreement for the 2018 fiscal year has been sorted, work will begin with the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs Powerball and Mega Millions, ‘to determine a path for the return’ of the games.
It is estimated that Illinois reported $208 million in Powerball sales last year, as well as $99 million in Mega Millions sales. About 40 percent of each is returned to Illinois in revenue, and the state will be hoping to start offering tickets again as quickly as possible.