Online lottery sales to expire March 25 as lawmakers don't act

The temporary program that lets Illinois Lottery players buy tickets online will expire March 25, and lawmakers left Springfield Thursday without extending the four-year tryout.

The Illinois Lottery has been selling tickets online since March of 2012 and, beginning in 2014, through a mobile application.

Legislation sponsored by Reps. Ed Sullivan, a Mundelein Republican, and Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat, would extend the program. But the House canceled a meeting to consider the extension Thursday and is not scheduled to meet again until April 4.

"A generator of money for our schools is going to go away because of the problems we're having in this building," Sullivan said on the House floor Thursday.

Last year, about 106,000 people played the Illinois lottery online and 380,000 have downloaded the mobile app, according to spokesman Stephen Rossi.

Lang said he suspects the program will be renewed eventually, but there will be a gap when individual lottery tickets won't be available online, as the legislature deals with the ongoing state budget stalemate.

Rossi said residents could still buy subscriptions - a bundle of tickets - online, but not individual Powerball tickets, for example.

"It's better for the economy, better for the lottery. And we have to remember that the money for the lottery goes to the schools. The faster we do this the better off we are," Lang said.

The potential delay comes at a time when online fantasy sports companies are pursuing laws to regulate their industry in Illinois.

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