Let me preface this by saying I don’t like Illinois, which is run by clowns. I also don’t like state lotteries, a cruel tax on the stupid.

So this caught my eye …

On July 19, Danny Chasteen had the good fortune to buy a $250,000 Cool Cash scratch-off ticket from the Illinois Lottery, bucking enormous odds. He and his girlfriend, Susan Rick, were told the loot would be headed their way in four to six weeks. (That is probably permitted in the fine print nobody reads.)

Except …

About five weeks after his big score, Chasteen got a call from lottery officials.

It seems that with no state budget in place for the new fiscal year, the state comptroller can’t write checks for over $25,000. That means the vast majority of lottery winners can be paid, just not the big winners.

“They assured us the money was in the account – however, they couldn’t get the authorization to send out the checks until the state budget issues were settled, Chasteen told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Lottery officials confirmed Chasteen was correct.

Now turn the tables. If Danny Chasteen owed the state of Illinois a quarter-million, they’d seize everything he owned. Bureaucrats would gleefully reject the offer of an I.O.U.

The Illinois Lottery’s slogan is “Anything’s possible.”

I have an alternate: “The canary in the coal mine.”

If state lotteries can’t keep modest promises on a lottery with a large profit margin, might real bondholders start to get nervous?