"Virtual lobby" claim procedures and safety precautions in effect
By Kate Northrop
Illinois lottery players will find it easier to claim winnings in person now that four out of five of the state's claim centers are open.
As of today, the Des Plaines, Fairview Heights, Springfield (Lottery Headquarters), and Rockford claim centers are open. The claim center in the James R. Thompson Center (JRTC) in Chicago will remain closed to the public until a later date. Claim center hours of operation are weekdays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
All claim centers will be closed on Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day.
"As Illinois continues to re-open, we are once again opening our doors to players," Illinois Lottery Acting Director Harold Mays said. "We are looking forward to giving our players the opportunity to visit one of our claim centers and process their lottery prizes in person."
The Lottery also released a new claim procedure that adheres to state mandates and social distancing recommendations since the reopening will likely result in high volumes of in person claims.
"We expect that there will be a high volume of players visiting our claim centers in the first few weeks and appreciate your patience and understanding as we open again," said Mays. "We have instituted new protocols to aid in serving as many players as possible in a safe and efficient manner."
Once players arrive at one of the claim centers, they will partake in a "virtual lobby" system that reserves their place in line using a cell phone. The system allows players to hold their virtual spot in line while waiting in their cars to limit the number of people in the building at once and reduce contact. Instructions on how to sign-in to the virtual lobby are provided upon arrival, and players will receive a text message letting them know that it is their turn to enter the building.
The Illinois Lottery requires that those looking to claim winnings in person must follow the specific guidelines below:
- Bring a mask and wear it at all times in the claim center.
- Bring photo ID and proof of social security number.
- Bring a charged cell phone to check-in to the virtual lobby. (If a player doesn't have a cell phone, they will need to check-in with the security guard on duty for instructions.)
- Follow social distancing guidelines.
- Come to the claim center alone, unless assistance is required.
- Don't go to the claim center if you have already claimed your prize via mail.
The Lottery urges players to continue claiming prizes via the mail-in alternative rather than visiting a claim center in person to limit the number of physical visits.
"We've had great success with our mail-in claims process during the past few months and we encourage players to try it, as it is still our preferred method as the State enters Phase IV," Mays stated.
Players can find instructions on how to claim a prize through the mail-in option on the Illinois Lottery website.