Lottery winners in Illinois get IOUs for prizes over $600

chicago lottery
Back in the good old days when this photo was taken (Feb. 11,) Chicagoans who won the lottery jackpot could actually cash in. But Illinois has capped winnings at $600 because of a budget impass. Bigger winners get an IOU.

You can play the lottery in Illinois these days, but you just can't win much.

The cash-strapped state said on Thursday that it can't pay out anything over $600 for the time being. For a ticket worth more than that, winners get an IOU that won't be paid off until the state government resolves its long-running budget crisis.

Illinois Lottery spokesman Steve Rossi blamed the hold-up on "the ongoing budget stalemate in Springfield," the state capital. "Once a budget is passed, all outstanding claims will be paid."

The administration of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has been tussling over the state's finances with the Democratic-controlled legislature for months.

Things have been going downhill for Illinois lottery winners for a while. Back in July the state capped its payouts at $25,000.

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

Up until Oct. 15, winnings between $600 and $25,000 could only be cashed in at the state's lottery claims centers. But now Illinois' ability to make payments over $600 has been "exhausted," said Rossi.

Winners can still cash in up to $600 at any store selling lottery tickets.

The state is still advertising a big fat jackpot, regardless of its ability to pay it. Illinois Mega Millions jackpot is currently $84 million and Powerball is $80 million.

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