Illinois Joins States With Vaccine Incentive Lotteries

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois is joining the group of states offering millions of dollars in cash prizes and scholarships to encourage residents to get vaccinated, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday.

Illinois will offer $7 million in cash prizes and $3 million in scholarships through a new lottery open to all residents who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Pritzker made the announcement at a community health center in Chicago’s Back of Yards neighborhood.

Prizes will range from $100,000 to $1 million, and children can win a college savings plan worth $150,000. Names in Illinois’ vaccination database will be automatically eligible for the lottery. Participants will be required to have a shot by July 1. Weekly drawings will begin July 8.

“'All In For The Win' is yet another way we’re working to ensure every single resident is protected from COVID-19," Pritzker said.

Nearly 67% of Illinois’ residents have received at least one vaccination dose, with a little over 50% have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Pritzker’s announcement came on the same day Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced a new COVID-19 vaccine incentive lottery for the state’s military, family members and veterans.

Inslee, whose state already had a vaccine lottery in place, said he made the move because the federal government wasn’t sharing individual vaccine status of those groups with the state and there were concerns they would be left out of a previously announced lottery.

Among the other states with vaccine incentive lotteries are California, New Mexico and Ohio. Those registering for New Mexico’s “Vax 2 the Max” portal can win prizes from a pool totaling $10 million that includes a $5 million grand prize.

In Nevada, Gov. Steve Sisolak on Thursday announced what he called "Vax Nevada Days,” saying it was a raffle because entrants aren’t paying to participate and vaccines are free.

The program makes all state residents who have received at least one vaccination since December automatically eligible to receive part of $5 million in prize money and college tuition credits. Vaccinated military members in Nevada and their dependents also will be entered to win.

Prize winners will be announced every Thursday for eight weeks beginning July 8.