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July 4, 2020

CHICAGO – The Illinois Lottery opened its doors at four of its five claim centers on July 1 to players across the state and processed over 1300 claims.

Although many were able to be serviced, many more could not get in due to maximum capacity being reached quickly at each center.  The significant backlog of unclaimed prizes due to the extended closure of our claim centers due to COVID-19 is unprecedented and led to an overwhelming response from our players.

“We anticipated a high volume of players and long wait times but in order to maintain proper social distancing in the centers many of those players had to wait a long time outside or in their cars.” said Illinois Lottery Acting Director Harold Mays.

“With temperatures projected to reach 90 degrees next week, we have decided to temporarily close our claim centers and reopen again soon with a process that will better control the volume and match it to the capacity of the location to minimize the risk to players.  We share the urgency our players have about claiming their prize; however, we want to make sure the experience is enjoyable and safe,” said Mays.

The Illinois Lottery continues to encourage its players to take advantage of the opportunity to claim their prize by mail as an alternative to visiting a claim center in person.

“Our mail-in claims process is simple, safe and has seen great success during this time,” said Mays.  “I strongly encourage our players to try it while we improve the in-person experience.”

Instructions on how to claim a prize via mail can be found at

About the Illinois Lottery:

Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed over $21 billion (since 1985) to the state’s Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars to the Capital Projects Fund and to special causes like homelessness prevention, Illinois Veterans services, the fight against breast cancer, MS research, Special Olympics, police memorials and assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition to playing in-store, the Illinois Lottery offers online and mobile play for all draw-based Illinois Lottery games at Players must be at least 18 years old.