Winners of the Illinois Lottery are out of luck. The state lottery commission does not have the money to pay those who hit it big. Anyone with winnings over $600 will need to wait to collect the money at a later date, NBC News reported Wednesday.
Since July, more than two dozen winners have received IOUs instead of cash because the state lottery commission froze payments until lawmakers pass a state budget. This measure applied to those who won $25,000 or more, which has to be paid by the state comptroller.
Winners who won less than $600 can collect at any participating retailer.
— Mary Ann Ahern (@MaryAnnAhernNBC) October 14, 2015
"They are all going to have to wait in line until we get a budget,'' Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger told reporters at a September news conference.
The announcement forced lottery winners to put their plans for the earnings on hold. Illinois resident Helen Whitfield won $400,000 and packed her belongings to move to Florida but now has to wait for whenever the money arrives, according to NBC.
The state also said Monday it will look for a new private manager for the lottery. Northstar currently manages the lottery but came under fire when it underperformed during former Gov. Pat Quinn's administration. Quinn tried to terminate the agreement but ran into legal problems. Gov. Bruce Rauner ultimately terminated the contract, which will end in January.
The lottery announced it is asking potential vendors for information “to initiate an open dialogue with market participants and gain information as well as industry perspective” in an email statement, Alton Daily News reported.
The Illinois lottery faces other changes. Starting this month, drawings for Pick 3, Pick 4, Lotto with Extra Shot, and Lucky Day Lotto are no longer being aired on WGN-TV but instead are posted on the lottery’s website, illinoislottery.com.