Economy

Lottery in Illinois Sued for Non-Payment

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Winning a state lottery prize may not always work out the way a player imagines. There are plenty of tales about winners who go broke, but in Illinois there is a new twist. Because the state legislature and the governor have not been able to agree on an annual budget, the state lottery commission has delayed payouts.

The Illinois state comptroller’s office claims that without a budget authorization, the state does not have the authority to issue checks for amounts greater than $25,000. Oddly enough, however, the state continues to sell tickets. And two state lottery winners do not think that’s fair. They have filed a federal lawsuit seeking class-action status to force the state to pay amounts greater than $25,000 with 5% interest and to prohibit the state from selling more tickets until previous winners have been paid.

An attorney for one of the winners said:

The lottery represents that you can win instantly. They fail to tell you as of July 1 they’re not going to pay. But yet they continue to sell the tickets under those false pretenses.

According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the lawsuit names the state lottery director, the Illinois Lottery Control Board and Northstar Lottery Group as defendants. State Comptroller Leslie Munger told the station that “winnings can’t be paid without a budget unlike other expenses dictated by court orders.” The suit also seeks a halt to administrative and operational cost payments.

The two winners who have filed the lawsuit won $50,000 and $250,000. The lawsuit claims that there are more than two dozen winners who are waiting to be paid more than $288 million in prizes that should have been paid since the state’s last budget authorization expired on June 30.

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