The state of Illinois is in the midst of a financial crisis and the government has been operating without a budget since the fiscal year ended on June 30th. Millions of dollars in lottery payouts have ceased while the governor and legislature try to come up with a way to solve the state’s budget deficit.
Big winners have no way to collect frozen lottery funds, but payouts of less than $25,000 continue to be paid out. Communications director of the Illinois Lottery, Stephen Rossi has not revealed how many winners have not been paid but told media through a statement on Friday that, “Due to the ongoing budget situation in Springfield, some lottery winner payments have been delayed.” He added, “All winners will be paid in full as soon as the lottery and the Illinois comptroller have the legislative authority to do so.”
Tickets are still being sold for the big games with tonight’s Lotto prize up to $5,750,000, and Wednesday’s Powerball sitting at $120,000,000. Winning tickets worth $25,000 or more totaling about $25,000,000 are listed on the Lottery website going back to the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1st.
The impasse in Springfield seems to center on Republican Governor Bruce Rauner’s desire to balance the budget with deep cuts, curbing collective bargaining rights, and changes in workers compensation while the Democratically controlled legislature wants tax hikes in exchange for any of those concessions.
Only essential services are being funded during the budget crisis due to state laws and court orders. Such things as debt service on bonds, some government payroll, pensions, schools, and other items are being paid as the state operates without a budget.
Even though the lottery takes in money for the state on a daily basis, there is no in-out flow mechanism to fund the big winners while the general fund is in limbo. Until a spending plan is approved, cities with casinos and towns with video gambling cafes will not receive their share of taxes earned from hosting the activities. As reported earlier, cities with casinos such as Des Plaines and Elgin will have to wait for their tax payments.