CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois Lottery has again temporarily closed its claim centers, after reopening four of the five statewide last week amid a backlog of unclaimed prizes.
When the Illinois Lottery opened the claim centers on Wednesday, it processed more than 1,300 claims. Many were serviced, but many more prize winners could not get in due to maximum capacity quickly being reached at all the centers.READ MORE: 3 Killed, 26 Wounded In Weekend Shootings Across Chicago
The coronavirus pandemic had forced the extended closure of the claim centers, leading to a major backlog of unclaimed prizes.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Heavy Rain Causing Flooding, Dangerous Driving Conditions And Power Outages
“We anticipated a high volume of players and long wait times but in order to maintain proper social distancing in the centers many of those players had to wait a long time outside or in their cars.” Illinois Lottery Acting Director Harold Mays said in a news release. “With temperatures projected to reach 90 degrees next week, we have decided to temporarily close our claim centers and reopen again soon with a process that will better control the volume and match it to the capacity of the location to minimize the risk to players. We share the urgency our players have about claiming their prize; however, we want to make sure the experience is enjoyable and safe,” said Mays.
The Illinois Lottery urges players to claim their prizes by mail instead of going to a claim center.MORE NEWS: City Offering COVID-19 Booster Shots Starting Monday
Instructions on how to claim a prize via mail are at illinoislottery.com/winning.