Oct. 14, 2013 – D.C. Lottery officials had some bad news Friday for anyone hoping to cash in a lucky ticket – no prizes can be paid out until the end of the federal government shutdown.
The D.C. Lottery suspended prize payouts indefinitely Saturday, releasing a list of frequently asked questions regarding the shutdown’s effects on Lottery operations.
The release explains that the D.C. Lottery can’t pay winners because Congress must supply the District’s funding. Without a new spending bill in Congress, the District is relying on a $144 million emergency fund to keep the city’s government running.
According to an NBC Washington report Friday, lottery prizes are not the only payments the District has suspended as they pinch pennies, waiting for federal lawmakers to reach an agreement. Payments to private contractors have been delayed, and the D.C. Council has also temporarily stopped giving tax refunds.
The Lottery’s Executive Director, Buddy Roogow, acknowledged that the temporary stay on Lottery prize payouts was likely to hurt sales.
He told the Washington Post that the Lottery is “trying to make people aware we’re going to honor everything,” but said “Every day we’re unable to redeem tickets is a problem for us.”
D.C. Lottery tickets – for both instant games and draw games – will remain on sale, and the Lottery will continue to hold drawings through the shutdown.
Winning numbers will continue to be posted on the Lottery’s website, but players who scratch a winner or match the lucky numbers will have to wait for the federal government before posing with their over-sized check.