Powerball ticket sales to be suspended Wednesday, Mega Millions on Friday due to lack of funding

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - If Illinois legislators don't approve a budget this week, lottery players in the state will see a delay in receiving payouts for jackpots over $25,000.

“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.”

A lack of Lottery funding for Fiscal Year 2018 will result in the unprecedented step of suspending Powerball and Mega Millions sales in Illinois.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR POWERBALL

  • Powerball sales in Illinois will be suspended at 9:00 p.m. June 28, 2017.
  • All Powerball tickets purchased before that cut-off time will be valid tickets.
  • All active Powerball subscriptions will be canceled after the last draw on June 28. The Lottery will issue refunds 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. The timing is unknown.
  • No other Illinois Lottery games will be suspended.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR MEGA MILLIONS

  • Mega Millions sales in Illinois will be suspended at 9:45 p.m. June 30, 2017.
  • All Mega Millions tickets purchased before that cut-off time will be valid tickets.
  • All active Mega Millions subscriptions will be cancelled after the last draw on June 30. The Lottery will issue refunds to players for the remaining length of their subscriptions.
  • When a Fiscal Year 2018 appropriation for the Illinois Lottery is passed, sales for Mega Millions will resume.
  • No other Illinois Lottery games will be suspended.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR PRIZE PAYMENTS

  • Players should not delay claiming a winning ticket.
  • Valid claims of more than $25,000 will experience a delay in payments due to the Comptroller’s inability to make payments on behalf of the Lottery without an appropriation.
  • Players with valid claims of any amount who owe money to the state (via an “offset”) will experience a delay in payments due to the Comptroller’s inability to make payments on behalf of the Lottery without an appropriation.
  • At this time, the Illinois Lottery will continue to pay valid claims of $25,000 or less at any of the five Lottery Prize Centers located throughout Illinois – Chicago, Des Plaines, Fairview Heights, Rockford and Springfield.
  • Prizes of $600 or less will continue to be paid at the Lottery’s nearly 8,000 retail partners.

In 2015, the year the budget impasse began, lottery players in Illinois also didn't get jackpots over $25,000. Lottery players sued and the state lost millions of dollars in lost sales. The Legislature had to approve a plan to let the Illinois Lottery make payouts.

State lottery officials have already said that the multi-state Powerball and Mega Millions games have threatened to drop Illinois if the state doesn't have a spending plan.

Lawmakers are meeting in special session at the Capitol. If they don't agree to a budget before Saturday, Illinois will enter a third straight fiscal year without a budget.

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