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Few major lottery jackpot winners get chance to be anonymous

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Few major lottery jackpot winners get chance to be anonymous
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Note to the Kansas and Maryland winners of last month's $656 million lottery jackpot: Count your anonymous blessings.

The states, where ticket holders claimed their $218.6 million portions in anonymity, are two of only six states that allow lottery winners' names to remain secret.

Officials in states other than Kansas, Maryland, Delaware, Michigan, North Dakota and Ohio make public the names of lottery winners, with rare exceptions. Most see the identities of winners as a matter of public record subject to open-records law while others say revealing the names adds to the lottery's credibility and encourages others to play.

"People like to see the people who are actually winning," said Katy Smith, a spokeswoman from the Oklahoma Lottery. "If we don't let people know people are winning, then that raises questions."

Mike Lang, an Illinois Lottery spokesman, agrees and says winners in his state must come forward publicly "unless there is a compelling reason not to."

That's why, last week, everyone learned at a news conference that Merle and Patricia Butler, a retired couple from Red Bud, Ill., will take home $110.5 million in Mega Millions winnings after taxes. The two claimed the third and final portion of last month's jackpot in public, per Illinois Lottery rules, Lang said.

States that publicize winner's names do so for commercial reasons rather than public good, said Andrew Stoltmann, an attorney who has represented lottery winners.

"It's a horrible rule for states to force winners to come forward," he said. "The single-best commercial that the lottery has is the press conference that winners hold discussing how the lottery winnings have changed their lives. ... There's a real disconnect between the interest of the lottery officials and the winners. The best thing a winner can do is remain anonymous."

Lottery officials nationwide, however, maintain that games involve public funds and as such are subject to disclosure laws just like any other matter handled by governments. Exceptions are made in some cases. In Illinois and North Carolina, people with restraining orders and other extreme cases can remain anonymous. In Florida, law enforcement officers can be kept secret.

In states like Colorado, Connecticut and Vermont, winners can bypass having their names released by claiming winnings through a trust or a limited liability company. However, at least one state, Oregon, forbids such practices and requires that individuals come forward.

USA Today

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47 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by Factorem.
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New Member
Mclean, Virginia
United States
Member #127112
April 23, 2012
1 Posts
Offline
Posted: April 23, 2012, 5:51 pm - IP Logged

Not being able claim the prize anonymously  is the reason I will not play big prize games in virginia. This rule sucks.

    dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
    Oklahoma
    United States
    Member #82391
    November 12, 2009
    5412 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: April 23, 2012, 6:07 pm - IP Logged

    Glad Oklahoma allows you to claim via trust

    I Love Pink & Green 1908

      Arrowhead's avatar - underground
      Ohio
      United States
      Member #120759
      December 27, 2011
      277 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: April 23, 2012, 6:11 pm - IP Logged

      I buy tickets in both Ohio and Michigan...anonymous both. Score!

        Artist77's avatar - batman14

        United States
        Member #121750
        January 16, 2012
        3285 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: April 23, 2012, 6:17 pm - IP Logged

        I buy tickets in both Ohio and Michigan...anonymous both. Score!

        I think in DC you can claim via a person or entity (trust).  So that is why I try to get tickets in DC vs Virginia most of the time. If I ever win, I want a red outfit like the 3 amigos who won the super MM.

          DivinePurpose's avatar - 18773428841 11263_6_26cta.jpg
          New Member
          NC
          United States
          Member #125005
          March 24, 2012
          13 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: April 23, 2012, 6:19 pm - IP Logged

          I wonder if there is an ex-boyfriend that I can get a restraining order against so I can claim anonymously here in NC. Big Grin Angel Lol. I'm only kidding.

            winsumloosesum's avatar - Lottery-060.jpg
            Pennsylvania
            United States
            Member #2218
            September 1, 2003
            4467 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: April 23, 2012, 6:39 pm - IP Logged

            That is the most ridiculous law to make public record your name when you hit the big jackpot.  Now your name and soon to be your address will be available to every hoodlum in your state.  You would need to change your name and go into hiding.

              NoShame's avatar - Lottery-030.jpg
              Indiana
              United States
              Member #104857
              January 21, 2011
              159 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: April 23, 2012, 7:16 pm - IP Logged

              Wait a minute, you mean Indiana's not an anonymous state?

              <snip> it.

              This post has been automatically changed by the Lottery Post computer system to remove inappropriate content and/or spam.

                Avatar
                charlotte, nc
                United States
                Member #108520
                March 26, 2011
                53 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: April 23, 2012, 7:25 pm - IP Logged

                So i live in nc so you mean to tell me if i have a restraining order i can claim my prize anonymous because i always go to sc to play because you can claim your prize anonymous their.

                  haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                  egg harbor twp.south jersey shore
                  United States
                  Member #112972
                  June 29, 2011
                  3163 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: April 23, 2012, 8:27 pm - IP Logged

                  This from the 2nd most corrupt state in the union.

                    IL. lottery spokesman : winner must come forward "unless there is a compelling reason not to"

                  compelling reasons.

                  #1 winner is a politician.

                  #2 winner is a lottery employee.

                  #3 winner is connected to #1 or#2.

                  #4 winner has a restraining order.

                   

                  This is worse than forced public disclosure, because it makes a rule that certain ppl. don't have to follow.

                  While the avg. sucker has to fend for himself.

                  Don't do as i do, do as i say.

                  Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.

                    CDanaT's avatar - tiger avatar_04_hd_pictures_169016.jpg
                    TX
                    United States
                    Member #121198
                    January 4, 2012
                    1216 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: April 23, 2012, 8:59 pm - IP Logged

                    Have to have my name and city of residence published down here......But at least I don't have to have a public news conference.....How does that comply with freedom of speech ??? Forced to talk about money you won ???  I might be tempted to grow a beard, wear sunglasses and look like a member of ZZ Top

                    Stay Positive, Believe and good things will come your way

                      zinniagirl's avatar - flower avatar_0026.jpg
                      nc
                      United States
                      Member #99522
                      October 26, 2010
                      232 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: April 23, 2012, 9:11 pm - IP Logged

                      So i live in nc so you mean to tell me if i have a restraining order i can claim my prize anonymous because i always go to sc to play because you can claim your prize anonymous their.

                      You can not claim anonymously in SC.   YOu can at first, but if the press wants your name they are allowed to have due to freedom of information.   I too live in NC but I work in SC.   I do buy my tickets in SC because it is a shorter drive to Columbia than to Raleigh, should I win a "large" prize.

                        CDanaT's avatar - tiger avatar_04_hd_pictures_169016.jpg
                        TX
                        United States
                        Member #121198
                        January 4, 2012
                        1216 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: April 23, 2012, 9:19 pm - IP Logged

                        You can not claim anonymously in SC.   YOu can at first, but if the press wants your name they are allowed to have due to freedom of information.   I too live in NC but I work in SC.   I do buy my tickets in SC because it is a shorter drive to Columbia than to Raleigh, should I win a "large" prize.

                        Well Z, aint the freedom of choice a beautiful thing ??? Thumbs Up..........Here's Cheers hoping you have a winning jackpot ticket purchased from S.C soon.

                        Stay Positive, Believe and good things will come your way

                          haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                          egg harbor twp.south jersey shore
                          United States
                          Member #112972
                          June 29, 2011
                          3163 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: April 23, 2012, 10:40 pm - IP Logged

                          Have to have my name and city of residence published down here......But at least I don't have to have a public news conference.....How does that comply with freedom of speech ??? Forced to talk about money you won ???  I might be tempted to grow a beard, wear sunglasses and look like a member of ZZ Top

                            One of my fav. bands.

                           

                           Well ok, can't wait to hear you sing "just got paid"

                          don't wear a Frank Beard disguise, hes' the one that doesn't have a beard. LOL

                          on another point,

                          "if Jesus just left chicago"

                          maybe he wanted to claim anonymously.

                          Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.

                            Piaceri's avatar - sarsony1
                            Wannabe Won Percenter
                            Republic of Texas
                            United States
                            Member #57557
                            January 9, 2008
                            998 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: April 23, 2012, 11:03 pm - IP Logged

                            LOL. The ZZ Top dude with the long beard lives in the gated subdivision up the road from me. I haven't seen him, but I know people who have. 

                            Texas has limited publicity that allows you to claim via trusts, etc, and not be subject to a public interview. I think the minimum is town where the ticket was bought and the entity name claiming. I'd think a good lawyer could bury your identity far enough that the average detective would not be able to find you.

                            face

                            singlewinnersinglewinnersinglewinner