Budget Threatens Lottery Games

Powerball, Mega Millions to drop Illinois due to state’s budget crisis. The popular Powerball lottery and Mega Millions games will drop Illinois at the end of June without a budget agreement, Illinois Lottery officials said Thursday.

Concern over the state’s fiscal condition prompted the Multi-State Lottery Association to drop Powerball in Illinois, according to internal Illinois Lottery communications obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Mega Millions also plans to drop the state unless a budget agreement comes together, state officials confirmed. Without a budget in place, the state isn’t authorized to make payments to Mega Millions or the association.

Greg Smith, acting director of the Illinois Lottery, called the development “disappointing.”

“The Legislature’s inability to pass a budget has led to this development and will result in Illinois Lottery players being denied the opportunity to play these popular games,” Smith said. “This is why it’s so critical the General Assembly deliver a balanced budget to the governor’s desk that he can sign.”

The state reported $99.4 million in Mega Millions sales and $208 million in Powerball sales within the 2016 budget year. Lottery officials indicated that Illinois retains about 40 percent of that money for education funding.

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