Federal judge expedites lawsuit of unpaid Illinois lottery winners

CHICAGO — A U.S. District Court judge on Wednesday sent parties in a lawsuit against the Illinois Lottery by unpaid lottery winners into settlement talks while the case continues.

Chief Judge Ruben Castillo said he will refer the case on an expedited basis to Magistrate Judge Mary Rowland, who will oversee the discussions.

Illinois has not been paying lottery winners of $600 or more since October, due to a state budget impasse between the Republican governor and the Democratic-controlled legislature. The state has continued to advertise games, sell tickets and hold lottery drawings.

The judge set a briefing schedule that culminates with a Dec. 16 hearing. The case expanded earlier this month to include dozens of state lotteries participating in the Mega Millions and Powerball games.

The amended lawsuit also included a motion to stop the other state lotteries from sending Illinois its share of multi-state lottery winnings.