Illinois Lottery suspends Powerball and Mega Millions amid budget crisis

in Lottery

The Illinois Lottery is suspending all Powerball and Mega Millions sales in the state because of the ongoing budget crisis.

The temporary change, announced Tuesday, will take effect Saturday “should funding for Lottery prizes not be approved by the General Assembly.”

Powerball ticket sales will be suspended at 9 p.m. Wednesday, while the Mega Millions sales will be suspended at 9:45 p.m. on Friday.

 Greg Smith, the Acting Director of the Illinois Lottery, wants money that lottery players win to actually be available as part of the state budget.

Lottery players “should be confident knowing the Illinois lottery has the money to pay these winning claims,” Smith told KWQC. “That means the General Assembly needs to approve a truly balanced budget that includes Lottery funding in order to ensure all prize payments will occur.”

The state of Illinois could be the first state to be downgraded to a credit rating status of "junk," as ratings agencies grow concerned about the state's $130 billion in unfunded pension obligations and $15 billion in unpaid bills.