Lotteries Plan To Dump Illinois Over Budget Impasse
Powerball and Mega Millions will exit Illinois by the end of the month if the state’s government can’t reach a budget agreement, according to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times.
The development comes at a time when the state is considering online poker and house-banked internet casino games in an effort to generate new tax revenue.
The Illinois Senate approved the online poker bill on May 31, sending the measure over to the House for consideration. Licenses would cost $10 million and would be an advance payment of taxes, which would be 15 percent of revenue.
Without a budget in place, Illinois reportedly isn’t making payments to the Multi-State Lottery Association. Also, the Illinois Lottery has had trouble paying out its biggest winners.
The association has been considering dumping Illinois since the budget mess began in 2015.
“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,” said Greg Smith, acting director of the Illinois Lottery. “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 fired its lottery manager in late 2015 over the issues. The state went with a private lotto manager in 2010 as its lottery revenue was struggling compared to other states.