Illinois Can’t Even Afford to Pay Lottery Winners.


A while ago, we told you about how a bush league Illinois bureaucrat – the head of the IL Lottery – was embarking on a tour of the continental United States, exporting Illinois’ unique brand of crazy to other, unwilling states, who not only didn’t listen to his fairy tales about the horrors of privatizing lotteries, they did exactly the opposite of what he said. Because, as it turns out, he was only mad about the lottery thing because he wasn’t part of the private company they hired to run it.

Now, as Illinois faces record low temperatures and record high unemployment, Jones is made his tour international and jetted off to a lottery conference in London, where he was feted alongside corporate CEOs and government officials, attended swanky events at incredible venues like London’s 02 arena, and spoke, presumably, on how not to run a profitable state lottery.
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But I suppose it wouldn’t be entirely true to say that the Illinois lottery doesn’t have problems. After all, Jones has been spending quite a lot of the entity’s money jetting off to far off locations to complain about his job, and even state-run entities in economically illiterate states like Illinois have finite budgets. There’s only so much cash to go around. So after the little globe-trotting spree, it’s no wonder the Illinois lottery is having a little trouble cashing checks to winners.
The Illinois Lottery bounced dozens of checks written to winners, many for scratch-off tickets worth $1,000.

Lottery spokesman Mike Lang said Friday that the mistake happened when a computer file wasn’t sent on time to the lottery’s bank. He says lottery officials didn’t key in the required security verification for the checks.

The lottery wrote 311 checks on Dec. 28. Of those checks about 85 bounced. Lang says the lottery offices were short-staffed because of the holidays. The affected checks totaled about $159,000.

Lang says the lottery will pay for any bank fees that occurred because of the checks. The lottery also is apologizing by sending free scratch-off tickets to those affected.

The lottery insists the problem was not a result of poor money management, but rather, poor management generally. If it had been the result of poor money management, they could merely have cut the travel budget for their director. But perhaps it’s time Illinois citizens start questioning why they are avoiding cutting their director.

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