When I saw this story
RUNNING OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY: Illinois Lottery Can’t Pay Off Big Winners But It Is Still Selling Tickets.
There was an obvious question that immediately hit me, one that I didn’t see address
Why on earth are people still buying tickets?
Seriously why on earth would you be buying lottery tickets if you can’t be guaranteed that the prize will be paid?
Granted this is all a budget issue and presumably once an actual budget is passed the bills will be paid:
Under Illinois law, the state comptroller has to sign checks of more than $25,000. Without a budget, the comptroller has no authority to sign those checks, so the Illinois Lottery doesn’t have the ability to pay off winners.
“The lottery is a state agency like many others, and we’re obviously affected by the budget situation,” Illinois Lottery spokesman Steve Rossi told the Chicago Tribune. “Since the legal authority is not there for the comptroller to disburse payments, those payments are delayed.”
People waiting for their checks are not satisfied with that answer.
“You know what’s funny? If we owed the state money, they’d come take it and they don’t care whether we have a roof over our head,” Danny Chasten’s girlfriend, Susan Rick, told reporters at a press conference to announce the lawsuit. “Our budget wouldn’t be a factor. You can’t say (to the state), ‘Can you wait until I get my budget under control?’”
But what if this goes on 3 months? Six months? a Year? And if there are a bunch of other bills that also have to get paid who is to say that they will make the lottery winners a priority?
Now I’m sure that there are a few loan companies that might buy those tickets for 80 cents on the dollar (cue the J G Wentworth ads) but is that what you’re really looking for when you are buying lottery tickets?
The clash between political foes is not a surprise, a state spending money it doesn’t have is par for the course, but I think the fact people still buying lottery tickets without a guarantee that they will be paid, that’s news.
The final irony? If you go to the Illinois Lottery web page right now this is what you will see:
Check out their catch phrase highlighted at the same time that the lottery can’t pay the prizes they are highlighting online:
Anything’s possible! Even convincing the rubes to buy your tickets even when you can’t pay off the prizes that you are advertising on your site.