Maine State Lottery Calls Time on Powerball and Mega Millions Ticket SalesMonday July 3rd 2017
Powerball and Mega Millions ticket sales in Maine have been suspended due to the state lottery’s inability to meet its contractual obligations. Governor Paul LePage has announced a state of civil emergency, with non-essential services being suspended until the state government, which runs the lottery, can regain a firm financial foothold. The sale of Hot Lotto and Lucky for Life tickets are also affected.
Players were greeted with the news on Friday night as lottery terminals across the state displayed a bright red screen, bearing the words “Breaking News”. The message that accompanied the alert explained that the four multistate lotteries would be unavailable to play until a government-enforced shutdown had been lifted. Mega Millions and Lucky for Life ticket sales ceased on Friday evening, while Hot Lotto and Powerball entries followed suit after Saturday’s drawings.
It has been revealed that Maine Lottery officials voluntarily withdrew the state from the four draws after being unable to contribute to the reserve fund of each game. The organization’s director, Gregory R. Minero, told reporters: “During a shutdown, no funds may go out of the state government that were not appropriated by the Legislature and this would fall under that category.”
Despite this news, lottery lovers in The Pine Tree State can still play a host of other big money games, including Megabucks, Pick 3 and Pick 4, Gimme5 and World Poker Tour, while instant scratch tickets are also still available. Minero was quick to point out that these games would not be affected, however, players hoping to claim over $600 would be forced to wait until the Maine State Lottery office in Augusta reopens after the shutdown has been repealed.
Maine isn’t the first state to feel the full force of multistate lottery organisers, with Powerball and Mega Millions tickets being taken off sale in Illinois following the drawings on Wednesday June 28th and Friday June 30th. The loss of these four games could hit Maine retailers hard, with the four games thought to generate $800,000 in weekly sales, $200,000 of which is weekly profit.
Until the shutdown is lifted, lottery fans in Maine can purchase Powerball and Mega Millions from outside of the state, including in neighbouring New Hampshire. Alternatively, players can pick their numbers online.