CHICAGO -- The Illinois Lottery is apologizing to dozens of winners who picked up checks for their winnings, mostly for scratch-off tickets worth $1,000, last week, only to find the Lottery's bank wouldn't cover the checks.
Of 311 checks written on Dec. 28, the Lottery's bank failed to authorize payment to "about 85," when a computer file that is supposed to be sent to the bank at 2 p.m. every day wasn't sent in time, said Lottery spokesman Mike Lang. The Lottery was short-staffed because of the holidays, causing the file to be sent late, he said.
"We had some checks that, from the consumer's, the player's perspective, bounced, and we're making it right," Lang said.
Anyone who wins more than $600 can go to one of several check-issuing offices throughout the state, Lang said. The affected checks, about $159,000 worth, were mostly winners of $1,000, with the largest prize affected being $9,500, Lang said.
The Lottery knew soon after the glitch that something might go wrong, and it started hearing about it the next day.
When winners went to deposit their checks, they were accepted by their banks, but when they tried to write checks or withdraw money, they found the funds weren't there. If banks resubmitted the checks, however, they were covered, and the Lottery has only had to write about five or six replacement checks, Lang said.
The Lottery will cover any bank fees associated with the problem, and is sending free scratch-off tickets to anyone affected as an apology, he said.
"It's something that we are not happy with, and we're taking steps" to see it doesn't happen again, Lang said.
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