Illinois Lottery officials are on the lookout for the lucky winner of a $15.7 million jackpot won last week.
The winning ticket was purchased through the Illinois Lottery’s online / mobile platform, which allows players to purchase tickets and play games over the internet. As of now, the jackpot winner has yet to come forward, prompting the Lottery to sound the alarm with a press release in hopes of jogging the new multi-millionaire’s memory.
In the Thursday, April 11 drawing of the Lotto Extra Shot game, winning numbers of 11 – 15 – 21 – 41 – 48 – 49 were produced to trigger the top Grand Prize jackpot payout of $15,750,000.
But until the winner steps forward to claim their prize, the Illinois Lottery is left to wait and wonder as to his or her identity.
The Illinois Lottery encourages anybody who believes they purchased the winning ticket to call the player hotline at 1-800-252-1775 to determine their status. Players can also visit one of five brick and mortar Prize Centers located in the cities of Chicago, Des Plaines, Rockford, Springfield or Fairview Heights.
With a deadline of one year from the date of the drawing to claim jackpots, players have until April 11 of 2020 to contact lotto officials.
In order to play Lotto Extra Shot – which is only available in Illinois – players pay $1 to choose a single line of six numbers. Players can also select an additional “Extra Shot” number for another $1, with this seventh number serving as a prize multiplier for the game’s lesser prizes.
The game offers numbers 1 through 52 as possible choices, and the Grand Prize jackpot requires all six numbers to be chosen correctly (the Extra Shot number has no impact on the topline prize).
Given the draw game’s 6/52 structure, winning the Grand Prize jackpot – which seeds at $2 million – comes with odds against of 1 in 20,358,520.
While those odds are certainly steep, they pale in comparison to the 1 in 292,201,338 lightning strike longshot required to win the Powerball jackpot, which reached $768 million last month. That nine-figure windfall – won by a lucky player in Wisconsin – marked the third-largest jackpot payout in the history of American lotteries.
While playing the lotto online is standard fare in 2019, the concept came to fruition only seven years ago thanks to the Illinois Lottery.
Seeking to launch a pilot program to sell Mega Millions and Lotto tickets over the internet, the Illinois Lottery petitioned the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2011 asking the agency to examine any potential conflicts with federal law. Two years earlier, the Illinois Legislature authorized amendments to the state’s Lottery Act calling for online integration.
At the time, the Wire Act of 1961 – a federal law designed to ban sports betting business from being conducted over the telephone – was loosely applied to prohibit all forms of online gambling. But in December of 2011, the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) issued a memo clarifying that the Wire Act was written specifically to target sports betting activity.
This revised Wire Act opinion paved the way for states to authorize online lottery programs of their own. After the Illinois Lottery went online in March of 2012, several states – including Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, and New Hampshire – followed up by passing similar legislation.
That decision sparked immediate outcry from states with a vested interest in online gaming and/or lotto, with New Hampshire leading the charge by suing the DOJ and Attorney General William Barr. More than a dozen states, including Illinois, have since joined that lawsuit, while the DOJ rushed to clarify that lotteries were not subject to the latest Wire Act opinion.