State Budget Woes Delay Illinois Lottery PayoutsWednesday September 2nd 2015
If you’ve won big on Illinois Lottery games recently, then you might have to hold off on popping open the champagne or buying that new Maserati as the state’s budget troubles have blocked lottery payouts of $25,000 or more.
According to state law, lottery prizes worth more than this amount can only be paid out by the state comptroller - and this isn’t currently possible due to the budget mess created by a legislative stalemate. At the moment, the office has no authority to issue payments to lottery winners, though the money is certainly available.
Illinois has been running without a budget since early July, when Governor Bruce Rauner and the legislature failed to reach an agreement in time for the new fiscal year. Social services, education and other important state programs have all been affected by the political wrangling down in Springfield, and lottery winners have been drawn into the fray as their checks have been delayed indefinitely.
Some big winners have gone to the press to voice their concern about the situation. Danny Chasteen, who lives with his girlfriend Susan Rick in Oglesby, won $250,000 on a scratchcard in July and expected to receive his winnings by now. This week, he was contacted by lottery officials who explained that the budget problems meant that the comptroller could not pay out his prize. “I was kind of in shock,” Chasteen told the Chicago Tribune. “I called them back the next day (and) said ‘“Why am I not getting my money?’ I think it’s all wrong they’re doing it this way. They should pay the money we’re owed.”
Chasteen and Rick had hoped to use some of the winnings to visit Rick’s daughter in Minnesota, but with their windfall delayed by state law, they’ve had to put their dreams on hold for the moment.
While winners of larger prizes can expect an IOU for the moment, players who win less than $600 can still cash in their tickets at authorized retailers across the state, while those who win more than $600 but less than $25,000 can visit lottery claim centers throughout Illinois in order to grab their cash.