Illinois lottery winners are in limbo

Lottery winners' payouts on hold
Lottery winners' payouts on hold

Congratulations, you won $25,000 in the Illinois lottery! Sorry, you'll have to settle for an IOU for now.

Winners of the Illinois lottery are being forced to wait for their money, because state lawmakers haven't passed a budget and so lottery officials don't have legal authority to do payouts.

Jackpots of at least $25,000 have been put off for the foreseeable future, according to lottery spokesman Stephen Rossi.

Illinois is grappling with a serious fiscal crunch.

"Due to the ongoing budget situation in Springfield, some lottery winner payments have been delayed," he said. "All winners will be paid in full as soon as the lottery and the Illinois comptroller have the legislative authority to do so."

Related: How to win the lottery ... and lose it all

He said that anyone with a prize of $600 or less can cash it in at a retailer. Prizes ranging from $601 to $25,000 can be redeemed at lottery claims centers.

The holdup has been ongoing since the current fiscal year started on July 1. The Illinois lottery on its web site highlights prizes that have occurred since then. That jackpot happens to be the second largest prize in the history of the Illinois lottery.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that a $262 million Mega Millions jackpot was won in July. In fact, it was won in June.

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