Governor Bruce Rauner and state lawmakers failed to agree on the running of the Illinois economy before the beginning of the fiscal year on 1st July and the row has rumbled on since, causing concern for public sector workers and initially limiting amounts transferred to lottery winners to $25,000. This was cut to $600 on Wednesday 14th October, due to there being no legal authority to deposit more funds into the Illinois Lottery’s account until an agreement is reached on the budget.
The most recent announcement has seen hordes of residents of the Land of Lincoln crossing the border to get their fix, with sellers like the GoLo petrol station in Hammond, Indiana witnessing a growth in lottery sales of 80 percent in the last fortnight. The shop is just 20 miles from Chicago and manager Idalia Vasquez reported to the Indy Star, ““We have long lines, but they’re patient with it because Illinois is not paying. They’re all coming here and saying, ‘I’m from Illinois, how do you play it here?’”
Another Indiana retailer, Adam Hartman of Terre Haute’s Fort Harrison Mini Mart, has noticed an upsurge in both sales and Illinois number plates in the car park. “I have to keep more tickets on hand to make sure that I can keep up with demand,” stated Hartman on Indiana Public Media. “But, yeah, until Illinois gets their mess straightened out, then we’ll probably continue to see an increase.” Indiana’s Hoosier Lottery even released a statement to welcome residents of the neighbouring state.
Elsewhere, lottery retailers in McCracken County, Kentucky, which stretches along the southern border of Illinois, have reported a 13 percent rise in sales of scratchards, beating the state-wide trend of nine percent. In addition, the Missouri and Iowa lotteries have also reported a surge in demand.
While Illinois Lottery has published details of its sales figures up to the end of September 2015, it has not commented on the effect the budget impasse has had. However, with a federal lawsuit on the table from winners who are demanding payment as well as the suspension of ticket sales until the crisis is solved, many are worried that the lottery will never regain the trust it once enjoyed with the public.
If you want to be certain of a prompt and easy payout of prizes from Powerball and Mega Millions, the two massive multi-state lotteries on offer within Illinois, you can play online, wherever you are in the world, through a lottery concierge service.