Budget impasse means big winners can’t be paid, Lottery says

SHARE Budget impasse means big winners can’t be paid, Lottery says

When Susan Rick’s boyfriend called her to say they won the Illinois Lottery, she didn’t believe him.

“He’s an avid player. He always says ‘Honey, I’m going to win the lottery tomorrow,” Rick, of Oglesby, said.

But on July 19, Rick’s boyfriend, Danny Chasteen, picked up a $250,000 winning Cool Cash scratch off ticket.

Rick and Chasteen were told the money would come within four to six weeks. But on Monday, about five weeks after the big win, they received a call from the Illinois Lottery.

“They assured us the money was in the account — however, they couldn’t get authorization to send out the checks until the state budget issues were settled,” said Rick, 48.

Rick, a residential therapist, works almost every day, and she said the money will help her pay her mortgage and credit card bills. She calls what the Illinois Lottery is doing “fraud and deceptive practices.”

“A lot of people who play the lottery don’t have money and have dreams of a better future. They put their money into that hope and probably don’t even have the money. But when they get something, they’re told they can’t have it until who knows when. You’re taking dreams right away and pulling the rug right from underneath. That’s just not fair,” Rick said.

Rick and Chasteen, 56, are among a group of Illinois Lottery winners who aren’t getting their big wins. Without a state budget in place for the new fiscal year, there’s no authority for the state comptroller to write checks over $25,000.

The Illinois Lottery confirmed the payment delays.

“All winners will be paid in full as soon as the Lottery and the Illinois Comptroller have the legislative authority to do so,” Lottery spokesman Steve Rossi said in a written statement.

Rossi said winners can still claim prizes under $600 at the Lottery’s 8,000 retail locations. Prizes under $25,000 can be claimed at Lottery claim centers found at illinoislottery.com.

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