WBEZ | Illinois lottery http://www.wbez.org/tags/illinois-lottery Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Judge asked to block outside money for Illinois Lottery http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-asked-block-outside-money-illinois-lottery-113760 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_151467443760.jpg" style="height: 397px; width: 620px;" title="In this Oct. 23, 2015 file photo, Vera Washington of Chicago, buys lotto tickets at the K&amp;D Marathon station in Hammond, Ind. Illinois Lottery ticket sales have plummeted since lottery officials announced delaying payouts over $600 because of the state budget impasse. Data obtained by The Associated Press through an information request show gross sales in October _ including for instant tickets and Mega Millions _ were the lowest in 2015. In mid-October, the lottery announced anyone winning over $600 wouldn’t get their money right away because money in the account used to pay those winnings was running out, sending regular players across state boarders to buy tickets.(AP Photo/Paul Beaty, File)" /></p><p>An attorney representing Illinois Lottery winners who haven&#39;t been paid their winnings has asked a federal judge to prevent 38 other state lotteries from sending money to the agency.</p><div><p>The winners represented by attorney Thomas Zimmerman Jr. in a lawsuit haven&#39;t been paid because of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/caught-middle" target="_blank">Illinois&#39; lack of a budget. </a></p><p>Zimmerman filed a motion for a temporary restraining order late Tuesday asking the judge to bar the other lotteries and the association overseeing Mega Millions and Powerball from giving the Illinois Lottery the money owed to Illinois winners of those games.</p><p>Zimmerman asked that the money instead be held in an interest-bearing account. The&nbsp;<em><a href="http://trib.in/1MZKhwb" target="_blank">Chicago&nbsp;Tribune</a></em> reports a court hearing was scheduled Thursday.</p><p>Illinois Lottery ticket sales have plummeted since officials announced in mid-October it was delaying payments topping $600 because of the budget impasse.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 12 Nov 2015 14:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-asked-block-outside-money-illinois-lottery-113760 Illinois lottery: You're a winner! Oh. No, you're not! http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lottery-youre-winner-oh-no-youre-not-112935 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/GettyImages-463217058.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Winners of big lottery jackpots in Illinois are finding themselves in an unusual situation:&nbsp;The Illinois Lottery says it cannot pay out jackpots of more than $25,000, because it lacks the legislative authority absent a new state budget.</p><p>That budget is nowhere in sight, as lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner remain locked in a stalemate over how to close a<a href="https://igpa.uillinois.edu/content/illinois-faces-9-billion-annual-deficit-and-159-billion-ious" target="_blank">massive deficit</a>. The state has been operating without a budget since July 1.</p><p>The Illinois Lottery&#39;s inability to pay has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-lottery-lawsuit-met-20150909-story.html" target="_blank">sparked a class action lawsuit</a>. Attorney Thomas Zimmerman is representing two lottery winners and says at least two more will join the suit this week.</p><p>&quot;The state has continued to represent that you will be an instant winner. But, yet, they knew all along that they will not be paying out the prize money,&quot; Zimmerman says, arguing that the actions are tantamount to fraud.</p><p>What&#39;s happening in Illinois is unprecedented, says Patrick Pierce, co-author of the book &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Gambling-Politics-Government-Business-Betting/dp/1588262685" target="_blank">Gambling Politics: State Government and the Business of Betting.</a>&quot;</p><p>&quot;It really is a kind of stunning development that a state would fail to pay lottery winners,&quot; Pierce says.</p><p>The state lottery refused requests for an interview and released a written statement saying that it &quot;cannot comment on pending litigation.&quot;</p><p>&quot;All winners will be paid in full as soon as Lottery and the Illinois Comptroller have the legislative authority to do so,&quot; the Illinois Lottery says.</p><p>Zimmerman wants a court to compel officials to pay, because he says it is unclear when a new budget will be instituted.</p><p><strong><em>Featured in:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.marketplace.org/shows/marketplace-morning-report/marketplace-morning-report-monday-september-14-2015">Marketplace Morning Report for Monday, September 14, 2015</a></em></strong></p></p> Tue, 15 Sep 2015 12:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lottery-youre-winner-oh-no-youre-not-112935 Illinois lotto winner's cash trapped by the budget impasse http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lotto-winners-cash-trapped-budget-impasse-112897 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_821018602755.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>About a month ago, Rhonda Rasche won $50,000 playing the lottery.</p><p>But the Illinois Lottery says it is not authorized to pay out prizes worth more than $25,000 because the state doesn&rsquo;t have a spending plan. And so winners haven&rsquo;t been paid out their prizes since July 1.</p><p>On Wednesday, Rasche filed a federal lawsuit demanding the state pay all of its big winners and to stop selling lotto tickets for prizes they know they can&rsquo;t pay out.</p><p>WBEZ&#39;s Melba Lara talked to Rhonda Rasche as part of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/caught-middle"><strong><em>Caught in the Middle</em></strong></a>, our series of stories about everyday people stuck in Illinois&rsquo; budget impasse.</p><p><strong>RASCHE: </strong>It&rsquo;s extremely frustrating. And one of my biggest frustrations is that his has not only impacted myself, but 28 other people that I&rsquo;m aware of. I don&rsquo;t know how many other people have been impacted since the announcement because they are still selling Lottery tickets. I think it&rsquo;s aggravating that they&rsquo;re still taking money in to the state, but they&rsquo;re not giving the winners their money.</p><p><strong>LARA: </strong>I want to talk about the lawsuit, but first can you take me back to the day you won the lottery? How did you find out? How did you feel?</p><p><strong>RASCHE:</strong> I actually had a friend from West Virginia who was staying with us. He scratched a few tickets while he was here, and he actually won $2,000 on a dollar scratch-off while he was here. So before he left, he said, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m gonna transfer my luck to you,&rsquo;. And we&rsquo;re like, &lsquo;...yea, yea, yea, okay&rsquo;, you know -- but he did, unbeknownst to me. But we did go to the gas station, I bought a couple scratch-offs -- three dollars each, they were crossword -- and after I bought them I threw them in my purse and forgot about them because honestly I play very randomly, and have never really won anything over $50 dollars so I never really expected to win anything. I didn&rsquo;t scratch one actually &lsquo;til the next day. So, I actually started scratching the crossword puzzle and had many, many letters and kept forming words, and I&rsquo;m like, &lsquo;wow, I have a lot of words here,&rsquo; and I looked at the legend that said 10 words would be $50,000 and it was really hard for me to believe. So, you know, I rechecked the ticket probably at least seven or eight times and I got pretty nervous because I&rsquo;ve never won anything in life, and I got in touch with my fiancee and let him know. And from there I started freaking out of course because it was really exciting. It&rsquo;s like, wow, this is...this is awesome.</p><p><strong>LARA: </strong>And Rhonda, part of your frustration with this whole situation is that you had some plans for this money that included helping a friend.</p><p><strong>RASCHE: </strong>Yes. It&rsquo;s pretty emotional for me. My best friend&rsquo;s mother passed away and she was like a second mom to me pretty much all my life. If I wasn&rsquo;t at my house I was at their house. So my friend and her four siblings were taking care of her with home hospice. She had cancer and they were pretty much doing round-the-clock care themselves up until the very end. I really just wanted to steal my best friend away and her older sister that I&rsquo;m close with also, and take them on kind of a girl trip to maybe have them wind down after all this. Thankfully I didn&rsquo;t start spending the money before I had it, but it was a real let down when I found out that they were not going to be paying us.</p><p><strong>LARA: </strong>It&rsquo;s very frustrating, definitely.</p><p><strong>RASCHE: </strong>It is. There&rsquo;s so many emotions involved that people don&rsquo;t know. You have no idea until this personally affects you because you know, you&rsquo;re at the highest of highs when you win, to the lowest of lows when you find out that they&rsquo;re not going to give you your money because of the state budget.</p></p> Thu, 10 Sep 2015 21:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lotto-winners-cash-trapped-budget-impasse-112897 New Illinois lottery game to benefit military vets http://www.wbez.org/news/new-illinois-lottery-game-benefit-military-vets-103744 <p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn has bought $20 worth of Veterans Cash lottery tickets and is calling on others to play the newest edition of the game that benefits military vets in&nbsp;Illinois.</p><p>Ahead of Veterans Day, the governor helped launch the new game. More than $10 million has been raised for veterans&#39; organizations since the program started in 2006.</p><p>All net proceeds go to groups like The Chicago Lighthouse, a nonprofit that helps the visually impaired, including veterans. Grants have been awarded to 190 organizations, including those specializing in post-traumatic stress disorder.</p><p>Speaking at The Chicago Lighthouse Wednesday, Quinn said buying a ticket &quot;was a great investment, win or lose.&quot;</p><p>Illinois&nbsp;Department of Veterans Affairs Director Erica Borggren said it&#39;s a &quot;very tangible way&quot; to thank veterans for their service.</p></p> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 09:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-illinois-lottery-game-benefit-military-vets-103744 Convenience stores worry about online lotto sales http://www.wbez.org/story/convenience-stores-worry-about-online-lotto-sales-96518 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-15/flickr illinois lottery leo reynolds.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Just about a month before Illinois is set to begin selling lottery tickets online, convenience store owners on Friday accused lotto officials of rushing through a plan they say would devastate the retail industry and do away with long-standing safeguards to protect minors and gambling addicts.</p><p>Representatives of Illinois convenience stores say online lottery ticket sales, set to begin March 25, will bite into sales of one of their most lucrative products and would cut down on "impulse buys" as fewer customers reach for that last-minute soda or candy bar.</p><p>"We're not against competition. We're in competition every day," said David Vite, CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, which represents 5,100 convenience stores across the state. "It's imperative that we get it right."</p><p>Illinois lottery tickets are currently only allowed to be bought with cash, in-person, at retailers across the state. The five percent commission store owners earn off of lotto ticket sales account for up to 50 percent of revenue at some locations, said Joe Rossi, president of the 7-Eleven Franchise Owners Association. Poorly regulated online ticket sales could mean the loss of 7,000 Illinois retail jobs, he said.</p><p>"It brings a lot of people into our stores and our locations. It's a lot of foot traffic," said Rossi.</p><p>Illinois lawmakers approved an online lottery pilot program in 2009. But the plan didn't get the legal okay from the U.S. Justice Department until last December. Since then, the private company that operates Illinois' lottery system, Northstar Lottery Group, has been racing to get an online sales program ready to launch this spring.</p><p>But the retail lobby claims Northstar and state lotto officials are charging ahead with a plan that doesn't protect consumers and could put convenience stores out of business. They maintain face-to-face lotto ticket sales help deter underage purchases, and they say the state's cash-only policy curbs gambling addicts who might otherwise be tempted to buy tickets on credit cards.</p><p>Illinois State Rep. Jim Watson (R-Jacksonville) introduced a bill Thursday that would require online lotto tickets to be bought with "stored value cards." Those would work like gift cards, whereby would-be lotto players could only add money to the cards at retail stores, in person, paying with cash. The bill would also impose a five percent floor on the commission rate store owners earn off of lotto ticket sales. The convenience store owners said they've been meeting with representatives from Northstar and the state of Illinois since the Department of Justice Ruling was released in late December. They've said they've been pushing the value card idea, and perhaps a bump in their commission rate to offset a drop in sales.</p><p>"I've been a store operator for 25 years," Rossi said. "My commission has been the same for 25 years. Same percentage it's been since day one. We're not looking for any more. ... And we know how to work within those means, but we don't know how to work with something when it's taken away from us."</p><p>But selling online lottery ticket sales could actually increase revenue at brick-and-mortar stores, said Illinois Lottery Superintendent Michael Jones. He said selling tickets online could draw in a new demographic of players who might have never otherwise bought tickets at convenience stores, and that could spur traditional ticket sales down the road.</p><p>"I would hope that the retailers, upon looking at it in their minds again, think to themselves, 'Hey, this actually is something that could help us merchandize our products more than we've ever had before," Jones said.</p><p>Jones also said requiring people to buy e-tickets with value cards could prove to be an obstacle.</p><p>"If you make it a requirement that people are completely unfamiliar with, and they have to do something to do something to do something, all you're doing is reducing potential demand," Jones said.</p><p>Jones added that online ticket sales would be carefully regulated, and would use geo-tracking and identification verification to ensure tickets are only sold to Illinois adults.</p></p> Fri, 17 Feb 2012 20:50:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/convenience-stores-worry-about-online-lotto-sales-96518