Since announcing in August that prizes over $600 would not be paid immediately due to state budget problems, the Illinois lottery has seen a significant decrease in ticket sales.
But lottery ticket sales aren't the only thing suffering.
William Fleischli, executive vice president of Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association /Illinois Association of Convenience Stores, said that the lottery issue adds to challenges already at play for small businesses close to state borders.
Small businesses like gas stations, convenience stores, and smoke shops in Illinois, particularly those in communities close to state borders that rely heavily on revenue from lottery sales, are feeling the pinch.
In addition to reduced revenue from lottery tickets, local business are also reporting loss in revenue from the sale of cigarettes, gas, and other items lottery players purchase when they buy their tickets.
“Border communities in Illinois face a marketing challenge with or without the lottery sales,” said Flreischli. “We have the highest taxes on gasoline and the highest taxes on cigarettes in the surrounding states. So there is already an incentive to go across the border. So this [budget impasse] doesn't help.”
Meanwhile, lottery officials are trying to reassure lottery ticket winners that they will get paid.
"Our winners will be paid," said
Lottery Superintendent B.R. Lane, according to an online report at WLS Chicago. "Once we get the go ahead from a legal perspective they will be paid."
Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders who control the state legislature have not been able to reach a budget agreement for the fiscal year that began on July 1.
Legislators won't be re-authorizing payment of lottery winnings until January, at the earliest.