winning the lottery in illinois

Illinois Lottery Prize Winners Frustrated With Claim Centers Closed, Questions About It Unanswered

DES PLAINES, Ill. (CBS) — What would you do if you won the Lotto?

Well first, you’d probably collect your money – but in Illinois, many players can’t even do that right now.

The CBS 2 Morning Insiders have discovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid winnings from the past few months, and players tell Tim McNicholas the Illinois Lottery is not answering their questions.

“I’ve always played this number. It’s my dog’s birthday.” Said John Sandor.

Sandor said he won $2,700 playing a pick-four back in March from his local gas station in Crystal Lake.

When you win that much, you usually have to go to a claim or prize center, but those were closed due to the pandemic.

“I’d like to get my money, you know?” Sandor said.

Then, the Illinois Lottery announced it would be reopening claim centers on July 1. So Sandor drove to the Rockford location on July 6, only to be told they were already shut back down.

“I asked why and they just wouldn’t really give me a good answer,” Sandor said. “They just said they were closed.”

Other players took to Facebook to complain, with some saying they also showed up in early July but couldn’t get paid.

Nicki Misialek won $2,000 in mid-June, but when she heard about the issues, she decided it wasn’t worth the drive.

“Can they not handle the amount of people?” Misialek said.

Misialek and Sandor both say they have had a hard time getting clear answers. In 2015, Illinois gave IOU’s to some lottery winners to ease the state’s financial burdens, so Misialek started to worry.

“If they would just say were not set up because of COVID, it’s understandable,” she said. “But leaving you hanging makes you wonder about the state’s finances, COVID, any other reason possible.”

We showed up at a claims center in Des Plaines and found barricades with signs saying the lottery is not making any more claims for the day.

Another sign says the claim center is closed until further notice, and you can visit for more information.

The website does not give a reopening date, but it does say winners can claim their tickets by mail, at a time when people across the Chicago area are complaining their mail isn’t showing up.

“You don’t know if it’s going to get lost. You don’t know if you’re going to get it back. You don’t know how long it’s going to take,” Sandor said.

Lakeisha Hampton from South Holland said she found a huge line “wrapped all the way around the building” July 2 outside the Des Plaines location when she showed up around 8 a.m.

She said an employee turned her away, so she drove to Rockford – only to be told they were done for the day.

“It was a hot mess out here,” Hampton said. “There were elderly people standing outside in the hot sun.”

The Illinois Lottery website said you should make a copy of your ticket, but mail in the original.

But Hampton said given her winnings, she does not feel comfortable putting the original in the mail.

“It was for the jackpot,” Hampton said. “It was like $250,000.”

Illinois Lottery would not agree to an interview. But in a statement, they said the early July response was overwhelming and the long lines in the summer heat were unsafe, so they shut the centers down.

The Lottery acknowledged a better option is needed, and they plan to launch a new system where winners can set up appointments online to visit the claim centers.

On Monday afternoon the, Illinois Lottery announced that appointments will start July 27 at four of their claim centers. You can make an appointment at No walk-ins are allowed.

A couple other states have set up similar systems.

A Lottery representative also recommended mailing in your claim. She said it typically takes about three to four weeks to get your prize that way.

What would you do if you won the Lotto? Well first, you’d probably collect your money – but in Illinois, many players can’t even do that right now.

Illinois Lottery

Winning $16M Lottery Ticket Sold at Vernon Hills Gas Station

Check your tickets! Someone who bought an Illinois Lottery ticket from Bucky’s on Townline Road in Vernon Hills hit the jackpot and is $16 million richer. NBC 5’s Jen DeSalvo reports.

Ingleside Man Takes Home $5 Million Lottery Prize

An Ingleside man is $5 million richer after he won an Illinois Lotto drawing last month, according to lottery officials.

Illinois Retailers Suffer During Lottery System Upgrade

The Illinois Lottery’s transition to a new central gaming system has caused troubles for some retailers, including overpayments to winners.

Chicago Man Wins $1 Million on Scratch-Off Ticket

A Chicago man is $1 million richer after hitting the jackpot on a scratch-off lottery ticket.

Illinois Lottery Looking for Winner of $650K Jackpot

If you recently played the Lucky Day Lotto drawing, you may want to check your numbers, because the Illinois Lottery is looking for a big winner.

Suburban Man Wins Big on Lottery Drawing

A suburban man is a lot richer after winning big on a Powerball ticket last month.

Suburban Man Wins Huge Jackpot on Scratch-Off Ticket

A trip to buy diapers turned into a massive payday for a suburban man recently.

Suburban Man a Millionaire After Winning Lottery Jackpot

A suburban man is a millionaire after winning the grand prize in an Illinois Lottery scratch-off game.

Suburban Resident Wins Big Prize on Scratch-Off Ticket

A quick trip to the gas station turned into a massive payday for a suburban resident this week.

Suburban Man Wins Big in Illinois Lottery Drawing

A Markham man has a lot of extra zeroes in his bank account after winning on an Illinois Lottery ticket.

Winning Lottery Ticket Sold at Chicago Gas Station

One lucky lottery player in the city of Chicago has a ticket worth nearly $1 million in their pocket.

Suburban Woman Wins Big in Illinois Lottery

A suburban woman has a lot more zeroes in her bank account after hitting the jackpot in a recent Lucky Day Lotto drawing.

Pair of Winning Lottery Tickets Sold in Chicago Area

Two lucky winners are holding onto lottery tickets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in the Chicago area.

Joliet Man Wins Big on Lottery Scratch Off Ticket

A southwest suburban Joliet man won $75,000 from the Illinois Lottery.

Suburban Man Wins Big in Illinois Lottery Drawing

A suburban man has some extra money in his wallet after winning a big prize in the Illinois Lottery’s “Lucky Day Lotto” drawing.

Winning Lottery Ticket Sold in Southwest Suburbs

If you bought a “Lucky Day Lotto” ticket recently, you may want to check your numbers.

North Suburban Woman Wins Big on Scratch-Off Lottery Ticket

A north suburban woman won $200,000 when she scratched a lottery ticket at her Round Lake Beach home.

West Suburban Man Wins $250K With Lottery Ticket

A west suburban man is $250,000 richer after scratching off a lottery ticket at his Lisle home.

Illinois Lost $4M by Halting Powerball, Mega Millions Sales

Illinois Lottery officials say the state lost about $4 million by halting sales of Powerball and Mega Millions tickets due to the state budget stalemate.

Powerball, Mega Millions Sales Resume in Illinois After Budget Deal

After the Illinois House came to an agreement on a new state budget on Thursday, lottery players got some excellent news.

Chicago News, Local News, Weather, Traffic, Entertainment, Video, and Breaking News ]]>