Illinois customers crossing state lines for lottery tickets

You hit the jackpot, but you have to wait to receive the millions in Illinois. Anyone who wins more than $600 from the Illinois lottery gets an IOU until the state decides a budget.

It’s driving more people across state lines to places like the Smoke Shop in Paducah to buy lottery tickets. Manager Christy Anderson says a lot of Illinois customers are playing there because they want an instant payout for big prize winnings.

“We have a lot of people that have been coming from Illinois. A lot of them don’t want to play anything where you can hit anything big because if they hit anything big, they don’t know if they’re going to get paid out or not," Anderson said. 

The Knapp Citgo Mart in Metropolis, Illinois, on the other hand, is making sales, but they aren’t for as many lotto tickets. Assistant manager Joy Dry says customers aren’t happy with Illinois’ lack of instant lottery payouts. Dry says they do lots of lotto sales, but now even some of their regulars are leaving.

“He was very nice about it,. He knows, you know, it’s not our fault. But, he said ‘If Illinois can’t pay, then I have to spend my money where I know I will get a return if I win,’” Dry said.

Vicki Swenney likes to play the lotto every week, but now she only does it in Kentucky.

“I used to get the lotto in Illinois and the Powerball, but I haven’t played either one in a while,” Swenney said.

A Kentucky lottery representative with 57 stores in the Paducah area says she’s seen lottery sales rise near state lines in the last couple of weeks.

We asked Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner about the IOUs Wednesday at an event in southern Illinois.

“We are running out of money for absolutely life-threatening, critical issues. We’ve got to make sure we do everything we can to keep the government open,” Rauner said.

An Illinois lottery spokesmen said he could not comment on pending legal action regarding a lawsuit filed by two Illinois lottery winners last month. That’s according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Illinois lottery began delaying payments in July.

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