Illinois Senator Jackie Collins Introduces Bill to Extend Lottery Game to Fund HIV/AIDS Programs

Illinois State Senator Jackie Collins from the 16th District introduced Senate Bill 2971 on February 7 that will allow Illinoisans to continue to play the "Quality of Life" scratch-off lottery game after the end of 2012. The "Red Ribbon Cash" game has raised over $2.4 million for HIV prevention, education, and treatment. If the bill becomes law, it will continue to fund the fight against HIV/AIDS for five additional years.

"Four years after the legislature voted to fund organizations on the front lines of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, the number of new infections has decreased nationwide, but this devastating disease is still ravaging vulnerable communities, particularly minority women," Senator Collins said. "The proceeds from the Quality of Life scratch-off game are helping non-profits save and prolong lives in the populations with the highest risk and we should allow these groups to continue their vital work."

Currently, the Illinois Lottery Commission, through its existing vendors, can sell instant scratch-off tickets, the proceeds of which are deposited into the Quality of Life Endowment Fund, which is kept separate from the state's general revenues. The Quality of Life Board then awards the money in the fund to qualified non-profit organizations. Half of the money earned from the games must go to groups with annual budgets of less than $300,000. Grant recipients must be engaged in prevention, education, or treatment of HIV/AIDS, and they must serve a population at a heightened risk of contracting HIV or developing AIDS.