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Illinois Lottery celebrates its retailers in honor of Lottery Week

This week is Lottery Week in North America. It’s a chance to celebrate lotteries across the U.S. and Canada, and to acknowledge their contributions to the communities they serve.

In honor of Lottery Week, the Illinois Lottery is recognizing its retail partners who play an important role in the lottery’s success as a conduit to its players by selling its games.

“We have over 7,000 retail locations throughout the State. Our retail network is the backbone of the Lottery – providing a convenient, local option for players to purchase a ticket,” said Harold Mays, Director of the Illinois Lottery.

“Illinois Lottery retailers sell and promote our games, and they also help drive the economic engine in the communities they serve.”

In fiscal year 2023, more than 786 million individual tickets were sold at retail locations across Illinois, and Illinois Lottery retail partners were paid an estimated $173 million in commissions and bonuses in fiscal year 2023.

Retailers receive a 5% commission on every lottery ticket sold in-store and a bonus for selling winning tickets with prizes greater than $1,000 of 1% of the prize amount (capped at $500,000). Retailers also receive a bonus for cashing prizes in-store for players of 1% of the prize amount.

Some Illinois Lottery retailers use their business profits to make a positive impact in their communities. One retailer, Wee-Sip Liquors, located at 1099 S. Water St. in Wilmington, IL, is being recognized by the Illinois Lottery as a pillar of the community for making regular charitable donations and contributions in honor of the support the store receives from its customers.

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Photo Caption: Jeff Shell (from left), Julious Shell, and Ashley Van Tilburg are three generations of Wee-Sip Liquors owners-operators, and are being recognized by the Illinois Lottery for being one of the longest serving Illinois Lottery retailers and for their positive community impact.

“Wee-Sip Liquors was opened by my father 53 years ago and has now become a family business run by my father, me and my daughter,” said Jeff Shell, owner-operator of Wee-Sip Liquors. “Our community has been kind to us all these years so we make it a priority to be kind in return. That’s why we annually donate to several causes in Wilmington like the food bank and a clothing drive.”

Wee-Sip Liquors is also being recognized by the Illinois Lottery for being one of the longest serving Illinois Lottery retail partners.

“We’ve been a partner of the Illinois Lottery since the lottery came to Illinois in 1974,” added Shell. “We enjoy selling lottery tickets because it helps us put smiles on peoples’ faces – winning makes everybody happy.”

When people play the Illinois Lottery, whether they win small or big or just enjoy the game, it’s also a win for Illinois. That’s because every single lottery ticket bought in Illinois funds education and good causes throughout the State. Since 1985, the Illinois Lottery has contributed more than $24 billion in revenue to educational funding in Illinois.

“We recognize and celebrate Wee-Sip’s valuable charitable contributions to their community,” added Mays. “We also thank them for their partnership, dedication and service for the past 49 years, and for supporting Illinois Lottery’s mission to responsibly generate revenue for the Common School Fund.”

Over the years, Wee-Sip Liquors has been a part of many player win celebrations.

“Wilmington is a very small town, about 5,600 people live here, so we know almost every customer that comes into our store – and after selling lottery tickets for nearly 50 years, we’ve experienced many, many winning moments with our players,” chuckled Shell.

“One very special memory for us was when we sold a million-dollar ticket three days before Christmas one year,” added Shell. “We don’t know who bought the winning ticket, most likely one of our regular customers, but it warmed our hearts knowing that we helped someone’s lottery dream come true.”

To learn more about how the Illinois Lottery is celebrating Lottery Week, visit Illinois Lottery’s Facebook and Instagram.

About the Illinois Lottery:Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed over $24 billion (since 1985) to the state’s Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars to the Capital Projects Fund and to special causes. For more information, visit

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