Audit shows Illinois Lottery accounting not up to snuff

By Matt Porter |

Published 07/24 2014 10:24PM

Updated 07/25 2014 10:23AM

ILLINOIS -- The Illinois Lottery finds itself under scrutiny after a state audit found numerous errors, inaccuracies and incomplete data. The Illinois Lottery is not coming up with the right numbers.

An audit released Thursday morning found the lottery either overstated or understated amounts in its financial reports. The Illinois Lottery defended itself after the audit showed errors amounting to $17.5 million.

“We are an agency that deals in large numbers, almost $3 billion in sales,” said lottery spokesperson Michael Lang.

The lottery said part of the reason for the discrepancy may have been due to staffing shortages.

“There was a great turnover in shared services in the auditing section where three people left,” Lang said. “They were working on lottery stuff.”

To remedy the situation, Lang said the lottery will add at least one extra staffer to address the problem on its books. Another red flag? Auditors found the lottery lacked clear procedure on how to handle winners' sensitive private information. It's something they say is not necessarily the case.

"We're very cognizant of the data we have and we don't share it beyond the eyes that need to see it,” he said. “But, you have to have that paper trail for the auditors to make sure."

Auditors wanted to see evidence that private information is protected. The lottery emphasizes no money was lost and everything has been resolved. It says it's normal for any state agency as large as the lottery to encounter these problems.

This audit was entirely about the state-operation side of the lottery which occurs once every two years. Northstar Lottery Group, the private-company hired to manage the lottery, was not involved.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.