Powerball, Mega Millions to drop Illinois due to state’s budget crisis

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Sun-Times Media Wire
Thursday, June 15, 2017 11:13AM
CHICAGO — The association that runs the popular Powerball lottery and Mega Millions games will drop Illinois at the end of June without a budget agreement.

Concern over the state of Illinois’ fiscal condition prompted that decision by the Multi-State Lottery Association, according to internal Illinois Lottery communications.

Illinois Lottery spokesman Jason Schaumburg on Thursday morning confirmed that the games will be dropped without a state budget. He said the association has never threatened to drop the games.

He called it “another example of why the General Assembly needs to deliver a balanced budget to the governor.”

The state reported $99.4 million in Mega Millions sales and $208 million in Powerball sales within the 2016 budget year. It’s unclear how much revenue the state got from the sale of those tickets.

The Multi-State Lottery Association is a non-profit, government-benefit association owned and operated by its 36 member lotteries. All profits are retained by the state lottery and are used to fund projects approved by the state legislatures, according to the association. The Illinois Lottery isn’t part of the association.

Powerball is offered in 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mega Millions is offered in 44 states, along with the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Democrat J.B. Pritzker, who is running for Illinois governor, released this statement Thursday morning:

“The decision by the Multi-State Lottery Association is a clear rebuke of Bruce Rauner and the 715-day budget crisis he has unleashed on our state. Rauner is a historic failure and bond ratings agencies, investors, and now U.S. lotteries are taking note. Under Bruce Rauner, Illinois has earned the reputation of being a bad investment and a state without stability or growth. This is what failed leadership looks like and the devastation will not stop until Bruce Rauner is out of office.”

WLS-TV contributed to this report.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire – Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2017.)