Residents of Illinois might soon have to take a drive out of the state in order to play the popular lottery games Mega Millions and Powerball.
The Multi-State Loterry Association said in internal Illinois Lottery communications that if the state does not pass a budget agreement, it will be dropped from the games by the end of June, says the Chicago Sun-Times.
Illinois Lottery spokesman Jason Schaumburg confirmed to the Sun-Times that the games would be dropped from Illinois’ offerings without the passing of a new state budget.
Schaumberg said it is “another example of why the General Assembly needs to deliver a balanced budget to the governor.”
The decision comes at a time when Illinois is facing a serious budget crisis with a backlog of $US14 billion in unpaid bills.
The state legislature recently missed its deadline to pass a budget during the spring session, sending budget negotiations into June for the second straight year. Last year, Illinois lawmakers opted for a short-term funding plan to keep schools open.
Following this year’s failed attempt to pass a budget, the state’s credit rating was downgraded by both S&P and Moody’s.
In a press release, Moody’s said it lowered the rating on Illinois’ general obligation bonds “amid a prolonged political impasse that has prevented progress on a growing pension deficit and an increasing backlog of unpaid bills.”