There is an ongoing budget deadlock in the state of Illinois and it could result in citizens losing their state-sanctioned rights to buying Mega Millions and Powerball Lottery tickets. These lotteries will become unavailable by the end of June if legislators can’t deliver a balanced budget by then. The Multi-State Lottery Association is a non-profit organization that offers the two lottery games. Operated by 36 member lotteries, the Illinois state lottery, however, is not a part of the lottery association that runs these two games. While IL residents would still be able to buy lottery tickets online through licensed offshore lottery agents, many of them are accustomed to just stopping at a local gas station or convenience store to pick up their tickets.

The two lotteries in question, Mega Millions and Powerball, are offered widely throughout the country and the US territories. Mega Millions is offered in 44 states in total, along with the District of Colombia and the UK Virgin Islands as well. Powerball Is also available in 44 states and also in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the District of Colombia.

The public was informed that the games might be dropped due to the budget deadlock by the Illinois Lottery spokesman, Jason Schaumburg. He added quite obviously, that the games weren’t going to be able to function without a solid state budget being presenting by the end of June. According to the spokesperson the games would be suspended at different times. Powerball will be suspended after it’s drawing on June 28th while Mega Millions will close for Illinois based players on June 30th unless the states officials can get together and close the deal on a balanced budget before then.

Over the course of the last 6 months, a succession of stories has been published and used by the staff at the Chicago tribune to locate the company that has had the responsibility with running the lottery in Illinois. They have found that the Northstar Lottery Group, the group that runs the lottery, has failed to pay out over 40 percent of the winnings in which they have been tasked with awarding. They have even gone as far as to end some of the games before the winners can be drawn so they didn’t have to pay out the grand prizes to their winners.

The announcement of the budget deadlock isn’t the first time that there has been documented problems between the state of Illinois and Multistate lottery associations. In 2015, lottery officials were found in breach of finance law when they prepaid $20 million dollars to the Multistate Lottery Association before the budget was approved. 2015 was also a year that a budget deadlock loomed around officials and it was seen as an attempt to save the lottery if the budget would not be finished in time.

Now, in 2017 there has not been any prepayments and with the budget in the same circumstances there stands a higher likelihood that these games will actually be eliminated from the state. John Patterson was quoted at the Chicago Tribune, “This is why the Senate passed a balanced budget, to prevent things like this from happening.”

A Rockford Republican, Sen. Dave Syverson commented on a special session that legislators would have that could clear things up. He mentioned that there could be some final action taken to avoid this whole dilemma that would result in the automatic funding of transfers involved in lottery and would thus make them not subject to legislative approval.  Such a move could keep Illinois involved with the USA multi-state lottery games.