Dec 15

Illinois Lottery Winners Could Receive Payouts Soon

Months after a budget stalemate saw Illinois Lottery winners issued with IOUs for prizes worth more than $600, Governor Bruce Rauner and the state’s legislature finally reached an agreement to release $1 billion in funds to those who have won $600 or more on the state’s lottery games. After being approved by the Illinois House of Representatives, the state Senate will now vote on the proposal this coming Monday.

The Chicago Tribune reported earlier this week that more than $2.1 million in additional revenue will also be distributed to municipalities across the state to cover the costs of 911 centers, firefighting departments and road maintenance over the winter.

After the state began operating without a budget, the Illinois Lottery stopped paying out prizes worth more than $25,000. In October, the threshold was lowered to $600 as the state’s budget woes continued. The payment of large Illinois Lottery prizes must be authorized by the State Comptroller, which, due to the lack of a state budget, could only issue IOUs to such winners.

A number of players have now launched a class-action lawsuit against the Illinois Lottery in an attempt to receive the money owed to them. In a recent hearing, a judge ordered both parties to settlement talks. The lawsuit is still set to go forward even if the funds are released, as attorney Tom Zimmerman maintains that the interest the money accrued while it was held by the Lottery should also be given to the plaintiffs.

by Mike Redfern
Updated December 4th, 2015

Feb 15

Naperville Man Wins Biggest Prize in Illinois Lottery History

A 70-year-old Naperville resident has come forward as the winner of a $270 million Mega Millions prize – the largest in the history of the Illinois Lottery. Jesus Davila Jr., a retired driver, purchased $5 of Quick Pick tickets from a convenience store in nearby Glendale Heights for the drawing on Friday, January 16th. As he watched the drawing at home, he wrote down the winning numbers and compared them to his own ticket.

While he thought that he had matched five main numbers to win $1 million, his son quickly saw that Davila had matched all six main numbers (26, 32, 44, 45 and 58 with Mega Ball 11) to win the jackpot. While he was waiting to step forward and identify himself, he and his family celebrated by leaving the Chicago area for a little while.

Davila’s past also came to light in Tuesday’s press conference – he spent 12 years in jail for the manufacture and delivery of cocaine. His spokesman said that he was aware of the charges, but that his client had “paid his debt to society” and was a good person. Davila himself simply said that he was a “regular Joe”.

He plans to donate some of his massive windfall to charities, share it with his family and buy a house and a riding lawnmower. Davila took the lump sum option, meaning that he will receive almost $127 million after taxes.
Davila’s prize broke a record held since April 2012, when Merle and Patricia Butler of Red Bud, Illinois claimed a Mega Millions prize worth $218.6 million. They took a share of the record-breaking $656 million offered up in the draw held on Friday March 30th of that year. Visit the Mega Millions Information page at Lottery.net to learn more about the game.

by Mike Redfern
Updated February 27th, 2015

Dec 14

Illinois Man Wins Lotto Using Fortune Cookie Numbers

An Illinois man is celebrating a $200,000 Lucky Day Lotto win after playing numbers that he found printed inside a fortune cookie! Martin Fuentes, 73, has played the same line for the past three years after opening the fortune cookie during a meal with his late mother.

The numbers, 2, 9, 14, 30 and 35, eventually came up in the evening drawing on November 19 when Des Plaines resident Fuentes shared the jackpot with another ticket holder. The retired mailman now plans to treat his family this Christmas and says that he will continue to play Illinois Lottery games, but will avoid his fortune cookie numbers and move away from Lucky Day Lotto.

To see all the winning numbers from the exciting array of games available in the state of Illinois, check out the Illinois Lottery Results page of Lottery.net.

Fuentes’ story echoes an incident from 2005 concerning the multi-state game Powerball when an unusually large amount of players won in the Match 5 prize tier. Whereas officials generally expected four tickets to triumph at that level, on Wednesday March 30 there were 110 players claiming prizes of $500,000 and $100,000.

After initial suspicions of fraud were discounted, it was revealed that many of the ticket holders had taken their numbers from messages in fortune cookies produced by Wonton Food Inc of New York. Workers at the factory would not have been able to have benefitted from the prediction though, because the state was not signed up to Powerball at the time!

by Mike Redfern
Updated March 29th, 2016

Mar 14

Illinois Lottery Launch New Instant Win Games

ILLINOIS LOTTERY LOGOFriday March 14 2014 – Illinois Lottery launched a series of instant win games this month with top prizes of up to $250,000. The six new arrivals are relatively low cost games, ranging in price from as little as $1 up to just $5.

The scratch-off games, called Neon 9s, Monopoly, Disco Bingo, Lucky Green, Casino Cashword and the MS Project, join Illinois instant win favourites such as Candy Cane Crossword, Words with Friends and Bingo Boogie.

At just $1 for a ticket, Neon 9s is the lowest priced scratch-off in the bunch and offers players the chance to win a top prize of $9,000. Lucky Green and Casino Cashword sit further up the scale at $2 and $3 respectively with every Lucky Green ticket giving players ten chances to win up to $20,000 and the Casino Cashword game offering prizes of $50,000.

The Monopoly instant win is among the most expensive of the new games at $5 per ticket but also boasts top prizes of $250,000. Launched on March 4, players have 15 chances to win on every ticket with the odds of winning very attractive at 1 in 3.99.  Also priced at $5 is the Disco Bingo game which has even better odds of 1 in 3.88 and more than $26.7 million in prizes to give away.

However, perhaps the most notable of the new selection is the $2 game dubbed the MS Project. Unveiled on March 6, the MS Project scratch-off has a $20,000 top prize and was released as part of Illinois Lottery’s ongoing campaign to fund good causes. All of the profits generated from the instant win game will be used to fund Illinois based research into the cause, prevention and possible cure of multiple sclerosis (MS).

The game’s release was announced during National MS Awareness Week, which ran from March 3 to March 9, by Illinois Lottery Director Michael Jones who said, “If you buy an MS Project instant ticket, whether you win $20,000 instantly or not, you’re helping create substantial funding for programs researching MS.”

Since 2008, Illinois Lottery has worked alongside the National MS Society to raise more than $6.5 million and if the MS Project scratch-off sells out, it will provide a further $1 million for the Illinois Multiple Sclerosis Research Fund.

John Blazek, President of the MS Society’s Illinois chapter said, “The partnership with the Illinois Lottery and the funds generated through the scratch-off ticket are helping to propel new and innovative research throughout the state. This is another important step in our ongoing efforts to create a world free of MS.”

MS Project is available at more than 8,200 Illinois Lottery retailer locations across the state and has respectable odds of 1 in 4.65. With 100% of profits benefiting this worthy cause, it seems there’s no losing with the MS Project instant win game.

by Mike Redfern
Updated March 14th, 2014

Feb 14

Illinois Lottery Warns Residents of Scam

Monday February 3 2014Illinois Lottery is urging players to be on the lookout for a new Powerball lottery scam currently in circulation. The scam, which came to light last week, informs players that they have won a prize through a charitable gesture from the previous Illinois Powerball jackpot winners, Merle and Patricia Butler from Red Bud.

The couple won $218.6 million in March 2012 and the scam uses their jackpot win to try and trick players into believing that the Butlers wish to share their win but, to be eligible to receive their “prize”, players must pay a fee.

Illinois Lottery became aware of the scam when a female resident from Lake in the Hills contacted officials last Tuesday to tell them that she had received a convincing email. The email was sent from a Hellenic Bank official outlining that, as a token of goodwill, she had been awarded $920,000 from the Red Bud jackpot winners.

The fake email included a picture of the alleged bank official and a link to the story about the Red Bud jackpot winners. Speaking about the scam, the woman said: “Everyone in Illinois has heard about the Red Bud winners, it made me realize there might be a lot of people fooled by this particular scam.”

Illinois Lottery officials have been quick to respond to the latest scam with Michael Jones, Illinois Lottery Director saying that “potential lottery scams are now daily occurrences in Illinois, throughout the rest of the United States, and many foreign countries.”

“If anyone calls, or emails, or stops you on the street to “award” you a lottery cash prize, contact the authorities; it’s very likely a scam.”

If you are worried about falling victim to a lottery scam, LotteryWorld would like to remind you of these key points:

  • The only way to win a lottery prize is to have purchased a valid ticket and have matched one of the winning combinations.
  • Lottery officials will never ask for a payment in order to release your winnings.
  • Lotteries never enter players into drawings or promotions without the player’s consent.

Further information on lottery scams can be found on Lottery.net.

by Patrick Fitzgerald
Updated April 5th, 2016