The Illinois Lottery announced Wednesday that anyone who wins more than $600 will not be able to get their money until there’s a state budget.
Earlier, the lottery said it would not pay prize money to anyone who won more than $25,000 during the budget stalemate, saying the Lottery and the Illinois Comptroller didn’t have the legislative authority to pay them.
But beginning Oct. 15, lottery officials said the “check writing account will be exhausted” and there is “no legal authority to replenish it with funds.”
“Players who win $600 and below can continue to receive their winnings at any of the Lottery’s 8,000 retail locations statewide,” the lottery said.
In late August, when winners first spoke out about not receiving payments from their winnings, Illinois Lottery’s spokesman Stephen Rossi directed the problems to Springfield.
"All winners will be paid in full as soon as the Lottery and the Illinois Comptroller have the legislative authority to do so,” Rossi said in a statement at the time.
State law mandates the Illinois comptroller's office must make payouts larger than $25,000, but they also say their hands are tied.
“Without a budget, we can’t, by law, make any payments on an appropriated fund without a court order or consent decree or statutory continuing appropriation,” said Rich Carter, press secretary for Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger’s office.
Last month, two lottery winners filed a class action lawsuit against the Illinois Lottery for failing to pay prize money.
“The State is not paying prize money to people who won over $25,000, yet the State is continuing to sell Lottery tickets with potential winnings in excess of $25,000,” the lawsuit stated.