The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-08-2004, 06:43 PM
Tripler Tripler is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: JSOTF SDMB, OL-ROK
Posts: 6,792
If I win a big lottery jackpot, can I opt to remain anonymous?

So, it seems there's a PowerBall jackpot of $215,000,000 floating out there. . . Dream with me for a few minutes here, 'cause I bought a $5 ticket, just for the hell of it.

Yeah, I know that after taking a lump sum and after Uncle $am gets his say, I'll see maybe a quarter of that, but still, roughly $50M is still a hefty chunk 'o' change.

But for the sake of argument, if I pull off a winning ticket and go to claim it, can I choose to remain anonymous to the public? Barring the media's attempts to locate and find the winner, and the laws of the different states, is there any common requirement to post or release to the public any personal information about the winner?

I'm sure there's a law somewhere that someone has to be recorded for legal purposes, but what if I don't want my name and address published for security reasons? If I won, I wouldn't want to be hassled by every Tom, Dick, and Harry on the street for handouts, and I wouldn't want coworkers to think differently. I just want to be left alone, like a regular Joe. The last thing I want is my e-mail inbox flooded with spam asking for donations, nor do I want a mailbox full of letters. Granted, I'm going to donate to what I see as good causes, but I don't need the thought of burglars prowling around the house looking for a couple of grand at night.

It seems like a double edged sword--winning gobs and gobs of cash, only to be identified as the guy or gal that won that bucket of cabbage. But can I dull the one side of that sword?

Tripler
Okay, dream over. Please now tune back into real life.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 10-08-2004, 07:06 PM
Sir Prize Sir Prize is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
There is at least one state that lets lottery winners stay anonymous but most make them public by law.

What you should do if you win is form a trust, partnership, LLC or similar entity. Make sure that the ticket is the property of the LLC. Talk to a lawyer/accountant and the state lottery board about this.

Get someone else to deliver the ticket to the state as a representative of the LLC. It could be someone who is getting a share of the winnings or someone you simply hire for the job.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-08-2004, 07:12 PM
Ruby Ruby is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2001
My father in law planned to sell his house and move to an "undisclosed location" before turning in the winning ticket. Unfortunately, he never won the lottery so he never had to implement his plan. I like the idea of the LLC better, though.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-08-2004, 07:15 PM
chukhung chukhung is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Wouldn't allowing anonymous lottery winners make fraud and rigging easier to get away with?

If, for example, members of Charles Strutt's family start winning PowerBall jackpots on a regular basis, the media are going to catch on pretty quickly. But if those family members were to win anonymously (and spent their winnings discreetly), I would think that any fraud could go undetected for much longer.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-08-2004, 07:42 PM
Odinoneeye Odinoneeye is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
I know in Michigan, you can remain anonymous if you win the regular lottery, however the multi-state MegaMillions, you can't.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-08-2004, 07:55 PM
Tripler Tripler is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: JSOTF SDMB, OL-ROK
Posts: 6,792
[offtopic]

What's an LLC? IIRC, it's a "Limited Liability Corporation". But how would that benefit me and my Mom/Pop/Fiancee (those I would choose as corporate members) as winners?

What does an LLC offer that a simple direct-deposit savings account doesn't?

[/offtopic]

I am not a business major. You may have to dumb things down a shade.

Tripler
I'm just a simple BsEE with a couple of PowerBall tickets, and a dream.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-08-2004, 10:06 PM
SavageNarce SavageNarce is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Check the "fine print". Many lotteries say that, if you win, you consent to the use of your name, and perhaps your likeness as well, in publicity releases. Most lotteries have websites that tell you the details like that.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-08-2004, 10:32 PM
Sir Prize Sir Prize is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripler
[offtopic]

What's an LLC? IIRC, it's a "Limited Liability Corporation". But how would that benefit me and my Mom/Pop/Fiancee (those I would choose as corporate members) as winners?

What does an LLC offer that a simple direct-deposit savings account doesn't?
Yes, an LLC is a Limited Liability Corporation. The primary advantages are:

1. Makes distributing the money among multiple people simpler tax-wise.

2. May allow to get your money without your name being published by the lottery since the lottery may be willing to only publicize the name of the person that redeems the ticket for the LLC.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-08-2004, 10:37 PM
testride testride is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Quote:
ANONYMOUS WINNERS

I was wondering about the option of remaining anonymous after a win. Is this right part of the individual state's game laws or is it part of a state's right to privacy law? Which state would have jurisdiction- the state of my domicile or the state from which I bought the ticket? Do you know which states allow you to remain anonymous? I am mostly interested in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Arizona. Anonymous via Internet.

Is it possible to remain anonymous when collecting the money? Bruce & Sally B., via Internet.

The laws of the state where the ticket was sold will control the release of your identity. Winners do not have to appear before the press or even show up in person to get their check, but they are likely to find that the press will search them out. Only one Powerball member currently permits winners to remain anonymous (Delaware). State lawmakers want the public to know that the lottery is honestly run. To this end, most require that at least the name and city of the winner be made public. This way, the public can be assured that the prizes are being paid to a real person.
http://www.powerball.com/pb_faq.asp#anonymous
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-08-2004, 10:42 PM
Whack-a-Mole Whack-a-Mole is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by SavageNarce
Check the "fine print". Many lotteries say that, if you win, you consent to the use of your name, and perhaps your likeness as well, in publicity releases. Most lotteries have websites that tell you the details like that.
Yep...happen to have an Illinois Lottery ticket in front of me. Here is the relevant part off of the back of the ticket that you agree to merely by buying the ticket (of course other states/lotteries may vary):

Quote:
The holder of this ticket agrees to participate in interviews with Lottery public relations personnel and the media and grant permission to use his/her name, photograph, comments and image in lottery sponsored advertising and promotions.
I am unsure how they could force you, legally, to participate with the media and in interviews if you did not want to and I am willing to bet you could dodge that (ask a real attorney first of course). But as to using your name and likeness and such you are all theirs.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10-08-2004, 10:46 PM
don't ask don't ask is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 16,041
In Australia most big winners remain anonymous. The draws are supervised by government officials and are subject to extensive audits - for example the balls are weighed before every draw. The only frauds I have ever heard of in Australia involve non-profit organisations running raffles.

Some years ago I saw a show about big winners and how their lives had changed. Some of the stories were horrific. One young couple ended up losing friends and having relatives that wouldn't talk to them because they hadn't given them "enough". One friend was annoyed that the all expenses paid holiday to the States didn't include first class plane travel. Another objected to the couple buying her the 4 cylinder and not the 6 cylinder model of the car she wanted.

I think unless I won a stupid amount I would keep quite, set myself and my kids up to be unobtrusively comfortable and turn the rest to good works.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-09-2004, 08:52 AM
Tripler Tripler is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: JSOTF SDMB, OL-ROK
Posts: 6,792
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Prize
Yes, an LLC is a Limited Liability Corporation. The primary advantages are:

1. Makes distributing the money among multiple people simpler tax-wise.

2. May allow to get your money without your name being published by the lottery since the lottery may be willing to only publicize the name of the person that redeems the ticket for the LLC.
Methinks I may start a new thread about this, but how easy is it to start an LLC--like, do I have to file paperwork?

testride, I thank you for that link, and it expressly states my worst fear: the press may search for the winner. Good Lord, I despise the media.

Tripler
But this LLC thing has me wondering.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-09-2004, 09:29 AM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Nanjing, China
Posts: 8,915
How much publicity is there really for lottery winners? I can't recall ever seeing anyone publicized. 'Course I'm not a big sample of the country, mind you. Yeah, in those funky cases where it's a human interest story 'cos it's a bunch of grandmas or another group it may be on the news.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-09-2004, 10:06 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 31,403
I find that clause hard to believe. If you get the winning numbers, you win. Can anyone force you to appear in public to collect the money? Doesn't the lottery have to pay it to you, even if you tell them you will not appear in public. Does winning the lottery make you give up your right to privacy?
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10-09-2004, 10:41 AM
Whack-a-Mole Whack-a-Mole is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas
I find that clause hard to believe. If you get the winning numbers, you win. Can anyone force you to appear in public to collect the money? Doesn't the lottery have to pay it to you, even if you tell them you will not appear in public. Does winning the lottery make you give up your right to privacy?
If you mean the bit I posted then sure they can impinge on your privacy. The ticket is a contract that you agree to by buying it. If you do not like the terms of the contract then do not buy the ticket.

IANAL but it has been my impression that contract or no you cannot make people essentially work on your behalf. As such if someone kicked up a fuss and refused to participate in interviews I am not sure the Lottery people could really enforce that. That said I doubt you could stop them from using your likeness in advertising and such.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 10-09-2004, 10:58 AM
hajario hajario is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Posts: 12,980
In CA the name has to be made public and I am pretty sure you have to attend the press conference. You can answer "no comment" to every question until the reporters get bored.

Haj
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 10-09-2004, 11:08 AM
spingears spingears is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tripler
Tripler
Okay, dream over. Please now tune back into real life.
The operative word is:
IF
Now you can go fishing.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:58 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.