The volume of lottery winners in the state of California has increased recently, which has led to a delay in payments of prizes over $600. The California Lottery has stated that they cannot keep up with all the recent winnings and scratcher prize payments that used to take six weeks to pay out are now delayed, with people waiting 12 to 14 weeks for payment.
Scratchers that have a prize of $599 or less can be redeemed at the retailer where the ticket was purchased, but a prize higher than $600 requires a player to fill out a claim form which begins the claims process. Deputy Director of Communications for the California Lottery, Russel Lopez, stated that it’s not that the lottery doesn’t have the money for payments, but the Lottery is simply playing catch-up because of an influx of winners.
Regular players of the California Lottery have expressed their skepticism on the delay but others understand the issue at hand. The increase of winners with prizes of $600 or more is reportedly due to a new strategy by the Lottery. According to Lopez, the Lottery has introduced higher price-point Scratchers that can produce a higher number of winners. Lopez stated that players like the $10 and $20 games and that the Lottery recently introduced another new game with a $30 price tag.
A large number of the lottery claims range from the $600 to $1,000. The California Lottery is reportedly working on a plan to speed up the process for claims that fit into this prize range.