Jackpots for the Mega Millions and Powerball are nearing a billion dollars total in the second weekend of 2021.
A spike in the prize pool usually means a spike in lottery ticket sales. So, if you happen to win while playing these multistate lottery games in Illinois, you’ll need to know how to claim your prize.
The steps are the same, regardless of which lotto game you win. The amount you win and how you play are more important than which IL Lottery game you win.
How to claim an Illinois Lottery prize
Like in most other places, $600 is the magic amount of sorts for lottery players.
If your prize is $600 or less, you can claim it at any lottery retailer. If you bought your winning ticket through the IL Lottery app or website, the lottery credits your account with your winnings automatically. From there, you can withdraw your winnings to a bank account.
Should you win $601 or more but no more than $1 million, your options are somewhat lesser. The Illinois Lottery encourages you to claim such winnings by mail. As a first step, download and complete the claim packet.
If you bought a physical ticket, you need to sign the original and put it in an envelope along with the claim packet contents. If you played online, all you need to do is ensure the claim packet documents are complete and the name on the form matches the name on the account online. Be sure to make a copy of everything for your records before you send it off. Then send it, using registered mail, to:
- Illinois Lottery Claims Department
- PO Box 19080
- Springfield, IL 62794-9912
Alternatively, you can make an appointment at one of the claim centers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, none of the claim centers are accepting walk-in traffic. You must make an appointment online to claim a prize.
You must bring the original, signed ticket if you played in-person. If you bought your ticket online, bring your smartphone or tablet with you. In addition, you must have a valid government-issued photo ID, proof of your Social Security number and a completed claim packet.
The IL Lottery also requires all claimants to wear a face mask properly while on-site; only the prize winner or one representative can be in the facility at a time. If you win a prize over $1 million, such as the Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot, there’s a different process.
What if I win the Mega Millions or Powerball this weekend?
If you literally hit the jackpot, waste no time. Call the IL Lottery’s main claims center at 217-524-5147 as soon as you realize you’ve won. From there, the person on the other end of the line will answer all your questions and direct you.
Although the odds of winning either jackpot — much less both in the same weekend — are astronomical, it’s mathematically possible. If you win any prize playing the lottery in IL, this information will become important for you.