SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KMOX) – Convenience store owners and lottery players alike are worried about the potential impact of Illinois’ ongoing budget impasse.
The multi-state association that oversees Powerball and Mega Millions has announced it will dump Illinois by the end of June if a new budget isn’t in place.
“If we didn’t have the Powerball or Mega Millions our sales will definitely go down,” according to Chelsea Ferguson, who works at a gas station/convenience store in Maryville. “We have a lot of regulars who come in and they know their Powerball and they know their Mega Millions, and they play it every day.”
One of those players is Jerry Stockley of Collinsville, whose disgust with Illinois goes far beyond lottery ticket sales.
“I think it’s terrible if we lose (Powerball & Mega Millions) in Illinois,” he told KMOX News. “Actually, I’m very ashamed of Illinois, living here, and I’m planning to move if things don’t change.”
He says the budget stalemate that’s now threatening to stretch into its third year is merely representative of the political and social problems that plague the state.
“They can’t get a budget together, they just can’t seem to get anything together,” he said.
In Glen Carbon, store manager Gerica Bean says the impact on her business would go well beyond the sale of lottery tickets.
“Because people come in and they buy other stuff as well,” she pointed out. “So it’s not necessarily just the lottery that we make money off of, but it’s them buying out other products as well.”
She says when the jackpot’s especially large for the Powerball, Mega Millions or both, she can sell an extra 1,000 tickets per day.
Those two games accounted for more than $300 million in sales last year in Illinois.