The Illinois Lottery opened its doors at four of its five claim centers on July 1 to players across the state and processed more than 1,300 claims.
Although many were able to be serviced, many more could not get in due to maximum capacity being reached quickly at each center, according to a press release. The significant backlog of unclaimed prizes due to the extended closure of claim centers due to COVID-19 is unprecedented and led to an overwhelming response from 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 [this] 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," Mays said.
They urge winners to claim their prizes 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,” Mays said. “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 illinoislottery.com/winning