Illinois Lottery ticket sales plunge after payout delay

CHICAGO (AP) – Illinois Lottery ticket sales have plummeted since lottery officials announced delaying payouts over $600 because of the state budget impasse.

Data obtained by The Associated Press through a public information request show that gross sales in October were the lowest yet in 2015. Sales include instant and Powerball tickets.

The lottery announced in mid-October that anyone winning over $600 wouldn’t get their money right away because money used to pay those winnings was running out.

That followed a late August announcement that payouts over $25,000 would be delayed because there wasn’t authority to cut checks that big.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative Democrats are deadlocked on a state budget agreement.

Lottery spokesman Steve Rossi says the impasse affects the lottery’s ability to pay.

Some winners have already sued.