The odds of winning the Illinois Lotto jackpot are listed at one in 20,358,520. The odds of getting paid for winning a jackpot right now are about one in zero.
The state lottery agency has stopped payment on all prizes greater than $25,000 as it waits for the state Legislature to pass a budget and secure its funding.
The Chicago Tribune reports two lottery winners have filed a lawsuit against the agency for not paying their winnings as a result of the prize freeze. Rhonda Rasche is waiting on a $50,000 prize from a scratch-off ticket, while Danny Chasteen is expecting a $250,000 check some-day, if the state can get its budget in order.
They're not alone, as the Tribune reports the state owes about $288 million in unpaid lottery prizes since the previous budget expired June 30.
Some economists say that state lotteries already are a dicey proposition, with a lot of questions as to whether they achieve their goal of funding education. To not pay if someone actually beats the improbable odds and wins just seems cruel.
So skip the lottery the next time you pass through Chicago. You're not going to win; but even if you win, you're not going to win.