If you win a California Lottery scratchers prize above $600, you’ll now have to wait much longer to get that money.
The California Lottery says the reason is simple: they can’t keep up with all the recent winnings.
Winners used to receive their payouts in less than 6 weeks, but due the high volume of recent winners the estimated time is now between 12 to 14 weeks.
While you can still redeem scratchers winnings of $599 or less at the stores where you bought them, $600 prizes require people to fill out a claims form which starts the claims process.
“It’s not that we don’t have the money,” said Russell Lopez, California Lottery Deputy Director of Communication. “With all the recent winners, we’re just playing catch up”.
While some regular lotto players expressed skepticism over the delay, others understand and called it a big time first world problem.
“If I win $25,000, I can wait 12 to 14 weeks," said Artis Williams, manager at Lotto King in Downtown San Diego.
The surge in recent winnings of $600 or more has a little to do with luck, but it’s also part of the California Lottery strategy.
“We are introducing more higher price-point Scratchers games that have a higher number of winners. We are finding that many of our players are liking the $10 and $20 games, and we recently introduced our second $30 Scratchers game,” said Lopez.
Lopez said California Lottery is currently working on a plan to speed up the payouts on claims between $600 and $1000, which represents a large number of their claims.