No Jackpot yet for Illinois Lottery Winners

Illinois lottery winners are promised their money is “there” but they just can’t get it yet.

Danny Chasteen has been playing the lottery for years, according to the video news story embedded at CNN Money. Unlike millions who pay into those state lotteries year after year and never win anything substantial, Chasteen recently won a quarter million dollars!

Except he doesn’t get it—at least, not yet.

According to CNBC,

The Chicago Tribune reported that disbursements of Illinois Lottery winnings of more than $25,000 have been halted because the state doesn’t have a budget.

“For the first time, we were finally gonna get a break,” [Chasteen’s girlfriend, Susan] Rick said. “And now the Illinois Lottery has kind of messed everything up.”

Under state law, checks for such winnings must be cut by the state comptroller’s office and, since lawmakers have yet to approve a budget, the office cannot release those funds, the newspaper said.

“The lottery is a state agency like many others, and we’re obviously affected by the budget situation,” Steve Rossi, a Lottery spokesman, told the newspaper. “Since the legal authority is not there for the comptroller to disburse payments, those payments are delayed.”

I am a bit suspicious. If the comptroller has to pay for these checks as if they came out of the general fund, how do we know that the State of Illinois isn’t really putting the ticket sales into the general fund and then paying out winners from that fund? They certainly aren’t acting as if the lottery is a separate business with its own revenue.

But what is going on is one of many signs that Illinois is going to collapse sooner or later. Here is some background from ZeroHedge:

Much as Brazil is the poster child for the great EM unwind unfolding across emerging economies from LatAm to AsiaPac, Illinois is in many ways the mascot for America’s state and local government fiscal crisis. 

Although well documented before, the state’s financial troubles were thrown into sharp relief in May when, on the heels of a state Supreme Court ruling that struck down a pension reform bid, Moody’s downgraded the city of Chicago to junk

Since then, there’s been quite a bit written about the state’s pension problem and indeed, Reuters ran a special report earlier this month that outlined the labyrinthine, incestuous character of the state’s various state and local governments.

On Friday, in the latest sign that Illinois’ budget crisis has deepened, Governor Bruce Rauner apparently fired “superstar” budget guru and Laffer disciple Donna Arduin who had been making some $30,000 a month as an economic consultant.

And while Illinois apparently found the cash to fork over six figures to Arduin for just four months of “work”, the budget stalemate means hard times for Illinoisans – including, apparently, lottery winners. 

Note that, if Arduin has worked that job for a year, the state of Illinois would have paid out $360 thousand! That would be more money than what Chasteen won.

In the meantime, I’ve seen nothing about the state paying Chasteen interest on this involuntary loan they are taking from him. Why don’t they at least pay him $25,000 a month? Then he would have the amount in ten months.

What would happen if Chasteen owed the government money and tried to use an IOU? Do you think they would give him an interest free loan?

These politicians are constantly accusing businessmen of wrongdoing and claiming the expertise to regulate them. But now they have a monopoly lottery business and they can’t even manage to pay what they owe their loyal customers!