Powerball & Mega Millions in Jeopardy in Illinois
MOLINE, Ill. — The Powerball and Mega Millions lottery games could become unavailable by the end of the month in Illinois.
A state budget impasse, if not resolved, could leave players "denied the opportunity" to participate, said Greg Smith, acting director of the Illinois Lottery, reported the Dispatch-Argus.
Multiple convenience store and gas station employees told the news outlet that this would have a major effect on their sales. In some stores, Powerball and Mega Millions make up as much as 70 percent of lottery ticket sales.
"People are absolutely going to be furious," said Marilyn Slininger, supervisor at a Jewel Express location in East Moline. "We do have some customers that come in just for lottery tickets."
Die-hard lottery players who live near state borders are likely to go to other states to buy Powerball and Mega Millions tickets, where they will also buy snacks, drinks and gas, too, according to c-store operators.
"Customers want a one-stop shop, and if we can't offer Powerball and Mega Millions, they're going to go elsewhere," said Jon Daniels, shift leader at a Moline Big 10 Mart.
If legislators do not pass a budget in June, July 1 will mark the start of Illinois' third year without one, according to the report.
In 2016,the state reported $99 million in Mega Millions sales and $208 million in Powerball sales. Approximately 40 percent of those sales comes back to the state as revenue.
The Multi-State Lottery Association, which operates Powerball, stated that it is working closely with Illinois. Mega Millions, which is run by a consortium of lotteries, deferred questions to state officials.