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Illinois lost $4 million by halting Powerball, Mega Millions sales

Jul 10, 2017, 8:40 am

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Illinois LotteryIllinois Lottery: Illinois lost $4 million by halting Powerball, Mega Millions salesRating:

llinois lost nearly $4 million by shutting down Powerball and Mega Millions ticket sales because of the state budget impasse, a lottery official said Friday.

Lottery chief of staff Jayme Odom said the state lost about $2.4 million in revenue from Powerball and $1.5 million from Mega Millions during the ticket-sales hiatus. She said it's unclear whether sales have recovered since they were reintroduced Thursday night.

Late last month, the lottery announced it would halt sales of Powerball and Mega Millions, the popular multi-state games known for headline-grabbing jackpots. Without a budget the lottery did not have the authority to make the payments to help fund the prize pool even though the agency had the money to do so.

Powerball ticket sales in Illinois ended June 28, and Mega Millions stopped June 30.

With a budget now in place, the lottery has resumed sales of the games. In stores across the state, clerks are informing customers that the games are back, and the lottery is also advertising their return on display monitors at retail outlets.

At Paul's Pantry & Liquors in Carol Stream, sales dropped precipitously. Sales clerk Kunal Patel said the store usually sees about $2,400 in weekly sales of draw games, which include Powerball, Mega Millions and other games like Lucky Day Lotto. Last week, sales dropped to around $1,200.

"It's a pretty significant drop," he said. "Those are two big games."

Others said the lost revenues weren't enough to hurt their bottom line.

"We're lucky enough that we sell a lot of scratch-off tickets," Christine Dean said between helping customers at her 7-Eleven store on Schaumburg Road in Streamwood.

Furthermore, many of Dean's customers simply switched to other games. "Some people weren't aware," she said. "I'd tell them we didn't have Powerball or Mega Millions and they'd say, 'OK, then what else do you have?'"

Without a budget for the past two years, the state kept Powerball and Mega Millions running through a mix of accounting maneuvers — subsequently deemed illegal by auditors — and special legislation that temporarily authorized the payment of prizes. Even then, the lottery garnered national attention in late 2015 when it delayed payments to big winners, spurring lawsuits and hurting overall sales.

Jose Charles and his son, Jose Charles Jr., said about half their regular Powerball and Mega Millions customers simply stopped coming to their small restaurant, Charles Fast Foods, in Hanover Park.

"Nobody's really coming by anymore," Jose Charles Jr. said. "They were coming in for those games (Powerball and Mega Millions)."

While the store doesn't rely on lottery sales, "it does bring people in," his father said.

Dean said that while the overall lottery sales drop at her 7-Eleven was only about five to 10 percent, she's happy sales have resumed.

"I think if it had been long-term, it would have affected us — especially when the jackpots get high," Dean said. "When it's high, we have a line out the door. Plus, people buy other things while they're here."

Thanks to Coin Toss for the tip.

Chicago Tribune

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8 comments. Last comment 3 years ago by Lynn-Lynn.
Page 1 of 1
Avatar

United States
Member #164719
March 12, 2015
1300 Posts
Offline

I'm sure the fact that they are delaying large payouts -- again, will also dampen lottery sales. So, more money lost.... 

    Avatar
    Wyomissing, PA
    United States
    Member #161045
    November 15, 2014
    481 Posts
    Offline

    $4 million isn't all that much in the whole scope of things. And as the article points out, some players chose to play other games instead. Though, presumably, many players stopped playing entirely. So the loss could be somewhat higher than the $4 million. Regardless, relatively small amount compared to what the lottery takes in over the course of a year. Likely among the top reasons Illinois didn't seem too worried about the PB / MM games shutdown / not paying some winners timely on and off over the past two years.

    Classic in-state number game sales often exceed that of PB / MM in many jurisdictions. Sometimes by quite a lot. Furthermore, all numbers sales combined are often dwarfed by instant ticket sales, which comprise upwards of 60%+ of all sales for some lotteries.

    I can't understand why anyone, with maybe the exception of those far from the state borders and/or only buy low payouts games (ie. Pick-3, $1 instants, etc), would play the Illinois lottery given the various issues with some games and lottery operations, along with numerous payout delays.

      Avatar
      Northern IL
      United States
      Member #171103
      December 31, 2015
      147 Posts
      Offline

      I'm sure the fact that they are delaying large payouts -- again, will also dampen lottery sales. So, more money lost.... 

      The Delay was lifted at same time as Mega/Powerball going back on sale


      With a state budget in place there will be no delays in payments

        Avatar
        Simpsonville
        United States
        Member #163184
        January 22, 2015
        2253 Posts
        Offline

        A four letter word came to me about this:  GOOD

          Tatototman65's avatar - Lottery-009.jpg

          United States
          Member #138725
          February 4, 2013
          2971 Posts
          Offline

          Sigh...

          Smile

          *If you live in IL and want legal regulated online poker... Click on me
          *
          How much money could Illinois make from regulated iGaming? Click on me

          *If you live in Michigan and want legal regulated online poker... Click on me

            Avatar

            United States
            Member #106919
            February 27, 2011
            556 Posts
            Offline

            $4 million isn't all that much in the whole scope of things. And as the article points out, some players chose to play other games instead. Though, presumably, many players stopped playing entirely. So the loss could be somewhat higher than the $4 million. Regardless, relatively small amount compared to what the lottery takes in over the course of a year. Likely among the top reasons Illinois didn't seem too worried about the PB / MM games shutdown / not paying some winners timely on and off over the past two years.

            Classic in-state number game sales often exceed that of PB / MM in many jurisdictions. Sometimes by quite a lot. Furthermore, all numbers sales combined are often dwarfed by instant ticket sales, which comprise upwards of 60%+ of all sales for some lotteries.

            I can't understand why anyone, with maybe the exception of those far from the state borders and/or only buy low payouts games (ie. Pick-3, $1 instants, etc), would play the Illinois lottery given the various issues with some games and lottery operations, along with numerous payout delays.

            "I can't understand why anyone, with maybe the exception of those far from the state borders and/or only buy low payouts games (ie. Pick-3, $1 instants, etc), would play the Illinois lottery given the various issues with some games and lottery operations, along with numerous payout delays."

            Because of the euphoric high playing provides to many.

              I'm feeling a $312,000,000.00 jackpot win coming my way!

              Avatar
              Franklin-n.c
              United States
              Member #37193
              April 12, 2006
              54 Posts
              Offline

              Morons running the State vote them all OUT

                Lynn-Lynn's avatar - yocco
                Kansas city Mo
                United States
                Member #133401
                September 29, 2012
                55 Posts
                Offline

                Why should the lottery be tied to your budget. Its a game of change.