CHICAGO (CBS) — Without a state budget, the Powerball and Mega Millions drawings on Wednesday and Friday, respectively, will be the last time tickets for the massive jackpots are sold in Illinois.
Acting Illinois Lottery Director Greg Harris told lawmakers, unless there is a state budget deal or at least an agreement to let the lottery pay out prizes for those games, Illinois no longer will be allowed to participate in the games after their next drawings.
Current legislation authorizing Illinois to pay its share of Mega Millions and Powerball drawings expires Friday night, and the Multi-State Lottery Association has said it will drop Illinois from the roster of states for those games without a deal to make sure the state continues paying its share of prize money.
Convenience store owner Glen Gorman said his business will be hurt by losing those games, especially with extremely large jackpots.
“Jackpot gets larger, more people buy it, so we might sell $1,000 a day when it’s really up there in the 300-, 400-million dollar range,” he said.
Matt Kubacka, who works at Gorman’s convenience store at 143rd and Will-Cook Road in Homer Glen, said more people than usual have been buying Powerball and Mega Millions tickets recently, because this week could be their last chance for a while, without having to go to cross state lines.
“I’m already hearing a bunch of people cursing, and saying they’re going to Indiana to get the Powerball,” he said.
At a gas station down the road on 159th Street, Abe said he occasionally plays Powerball, but it won’t matter much if he can’t buy tickets in Illinois anymore.
“It doesn’t bother me at all. It’s not a big deal,” he said. “Never going to win anyway, so it doesn’t matter.”
Just minutes later, Abe seemed to be having a change of heart.
“Now that you have me thinking about it, I’m going to go buy a ticket. Maybe it’s my last shot,” he said.
If Illinois is dropped from Powerball and Mega Millions, the games would still be available in every neighboring state – Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, and Kentucky.
Wednesday night’s Powerball Jackpot was $92 million. Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot stood at $158 million as of Wednesday afternoon.