Laws permitting lottery winners to remain anonymous

There are lottery organizations that like to argue that publicizing a lottery winner’s identity helps promote the lottery and encourage other people to play, along with satisfying the public’s curiosity and letting them know that there was a real lottery winner, not some fake fraud-scheme…but overall, I think the lottery winner’s need to avoid such things as blackmail, extortion, theft, gold diggers, fraudsters, swindlers, ransom kidnappings, death threats or murder itself holds higher priority.
So with that, I think it’s time there was a national law permitting lottery winners in any and all of the 50 states, District Columbia, Puerto Rico, etc. to remain anonymous. If the lottery organizers don’t like that - well, too bad. A person has the right not to be threatened, mobbed by gold diggers or constantly targeted by swindlers.
What do you think?

Come play the lottery over here (UK) if you want to be an anonymous winner. We also have the sensibility to tax the ticket, not the winnings.

that is smart

That wouldn’t work here because we don’t have a massive national VAT like you.

The tax paid on the ticket is not VAT but a separate 12%. And technically it’s a duty not a tax.


If somebody who owes me a lot of money wins a lottery, I think I’d like to know about it. If my soon-to-be ex-wife* were to win Powerball, it would certainly influence the divorce proceedings. How common are kidnappings and death threats in conjunction with lotteries anyway? The big concerns are deadbeat pals and relatives, and no secrecy rule on earth will protect you from them!

*I don’t actually have a soon-to-be-ex-wife.

Not just threats, actual murders.

Six out of the 11 people on this list were killed because of their winnings. One quite recently.

I don’t see why the Federal government should dictate to states how to run their lotteries. Nobody is forced to enter a lottery. If someone chooses to do so, the conditions are laid out. If you don’t like the game, don’t play.

In most of those cases, though, the killer was a family member or an acquaintance - not some rando who tracked down the person because they’d heard their name on the news. Unless you plan on cutting yourself off from your family and pretending to be middle-class to everyone you know for the rest of your life, claiming the jackpot anonymously isn’t going to protect you from that.

It prevents fraud. Wouldn’t you want to know that family members of lottery officials aren’t winning all of the prizes?

I agree. Suppose the state just made an announcement that somebody had won last week’s hundred million dollar prize but they weren’t saying who it was. The accusations of fraud would be overwhelming.

Right to privacy. Unless someone can show the public is somehow harmed by not knowing the name and general location of lottery winners, it’s no more dictating how states can run lotteries than HIPAA is dictating how doctors can run their practices.

Except that there are some states that *do *allow anonymity. I don’t see them getting overwhelmed with fraud accusations.

Healthcare is pretty much essential at some point, whereas playing the lottery is 100% voluntary.

I can see arguments for both sides, but on the list of people who need the Federal government to help them out, I would put lottery winners near the end of the list. To say that the government has an interest, or even an obligation, to protect people from freeloading relatives or manage jealousy from coworkers is my idea of a non-problem.

I live in a “privacy” jurisdiction when it comes to this, it’s my call if the Lottery is to publicize that I won. It is understood that family and close associates may and most likely will learn of my fortune by other means anyway and that’s entirely my problem, not the Lottery’s, as are any debts and solicitations. They just will not generate publicity about it and will stop at that.
Sure, if someone owes me a large amount of money, I’d love to know if they hit the lottery… but the state agencies and their contractors do NOT have in their list of duties to inform me if that person has come into a windfall.

That’s what civil judgments are for. It’s silly to want a mechanism that can get a deadbeat to pay up in some fantastically rare circumstances when you have one available that can make him pay up in any circumstance that gives him the wherewithal to make good on the debt.

How would anyone know if there was fraud going on?

There are well documented cases of people rigging these contests, it is the norm for people to try and beat the rules when lots of money is involved.

Here in Peru someone has to pick up the money, check or whatever. However, for any amount that even a little bit interesting what 99% do is to have a representative from the bank where you’re having your money deposited go to the Lottery’s office, have the picture taken with the giant check, and everything.

BTW, they take 10% off in prices over S/. 100 (30 dollars) and it’s always a lump sum except in a specific game where it is a fixed monthly amount for 20 years in which you can’t take a lump sum.

I agree with your position. No need to put some ordinary person in the crosshairs for burglary, robbery, mooching deadbeat relatives/friends, etc. just because they beat some VERY long odds.