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NJ bill aims to protect lottery winners' identity

New Jersey LotteryNew Jersey Lottery: NJ bill aims to protect lottery winners' identity
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TRENTON, NJ — For some lottery winners, a large jackpot can bring out scam artists and others looking to get a piece of the pie.

Some winners have even been kidnapped and killed.

Now, a New Jersey assemblyman hopes to reduce the chances of that happening through legislation that would keep winners out of the public eye.

"Winning the lottery can be a blessing and a curse," said Assemblyman Deputy Speaker John Burzichelli.

"Once their identities become public, winners can become targets for unscrupulous individuals and scam artists."

The bill would direct the state's Lottery Commission to establish a regulation that lottery winners may remain anonymous for one year. Current regulation allows the commission to release the names, addresses, prize amount and photographs of winners.

The address used does not include a street or a house number, but a winner's name, town and county are available under the Open Public Records Act.

The new legislation would prohibit the identity of a winner who wants to remain anonymous from being included in materials available for public inspection during the one-year period.

"It can be tempting to share such great news with the world, and some people may want that celebrity," said Burzichelli. "If they want to spread the good news, they can.

"We just think that allowing a grace period for those who want to stay out of the limelight makes sense."

New Jersey Lottery spokeswoman Judith L. Drucker said Wednesday the commission and Treasury officials will be monitoring the bill's progress in the Legislature.

"While greater privacy protections may be possible, transparency gives taxpayers increased confidence that lottery games are fair and honest," said Drucker.

Burzichelli cited stories from around the country where the stories of winners ended in tragedy.

An Illinois resident who won $20 million in 1996 was kidnapped and killed by his sister-in-law and her boyfriend who targeted him for money.

A Florida man who won $31 million in 2006 disappeared three years later. His body was found under a concrete slab in 2010. A woman he befriended and who later seized control of his money was charged in connection with his murder.

"If these people were allowed to remain anonymous for a while, maybe they would have been able to manage their affairs better," Burzichelli said.

"This grace period could help a lot of people from being approached from somebody trying to sell them oil futures in Iraq."

Burzichelli, a Democrat, believes the nonpartisan, noncontroversial legislation should, from the Assembly side, get approved by the end of the year.

"We might fine-tune it a bit, tweak some dollar limits and thresholds," the assemblyman said. "But again, we just think this makes sense."

The Courier-Post

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45 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by Lottonomics.
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Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
Clarksville
United States
Member #487
July 15, 2002
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Posted: September 6, 2012, 3:17 pm - IP Logged

Other states need to think about this, too.  I hope it passes.  A person should not become a target just because they win a lottery.  A year is not a long time but it would give the winners time to do the things they need to do without everyone anticipating their next move.

If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

You never know when you will get another hit.


    United States
    Member #111446
    May 25, 2011
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    Posted: September 6, 2012, 3:42 pm - IP Logged

    If this passes, it would sure beat winding up in a concrete slab.

    Nothing against concrete, just after it sets in, makes it more difficult to get around.

      haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
      egg harbor twp.south jersey shore
      United States
      Member #112972
      June 29, 2011
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      Posted: September 6, 2012, 3:45 pm - IP Logged

      WTG John Burzichelli, kudos, even though i don't live in your district.

      I hope this passes, It'll be a feather in your cap.

      And then you can work on reduceing or eliminating the country's highest state lottery tax @ 10.8 %

      which discourges tix. buying, by residents and espeically by ppl. from PA,NY, DE.

      as a way to improve sale of tix.

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

        gocart1's avatar - lighthouse
        da bronx,city island,n.y.
        United States
        Member #30516
        January 17, 2006
        333 Posts
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        Posted: September 6, 2012, 4:05 pm - IP Logged

        Other states need to think about this, too.  I hope it passes.  A person should not become a target just because they win a lottery.  A year is not a long time but it would give the winners time to do the things they need to do without everyone anticipating their next move.

        I Agree!  Hope New York follows this also...

          maringoman's avatar - kobold
          Massachusetts
          United States
          Member #37433
          April 14, 2006
          2166 Posts
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          Posted: September 6, 2012, 4:20 pm - IP Logged

          If this passes, it would sure beat winding up in a concrete slab.

          Nothing against concrete, just after it sets in, makes it more difficult to get around.

          lol concrete is very clingy hahaha

          This move by the NJ politician is a great one. By now people know and believe that lottery is real and real people win.

          I think one year is ample time for a player to organize their affairs without the pressure of the begging hands.

          It's a futile effort.

            hearsetrax's avatar - 78638c467ef281febf24383e126f74b6

            United States
            Member #52345
            May 21, 2007
            1920 Posts
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            Posted: September 6, 2012, 5:48 pm - IP Logged

            Skepticalshould be curious to see how this pans out ...

            but by the same token I wonder how much pressure will be put upon the first big winner to change thar mind to go public b4 they allow for this option

            buried treasure

              Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
              S.E.Iowa
              United States
              Member #120509
              December 21, 2011
              534 Posts
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              Posted: September 6, 2012, 6:17 pm - IP Logged

              Its a start in the right direction.Better than nothing.Kansas and a few other states allow winners to be anonymous and I've never heard of any problems with it there.

              When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

              There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

                haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
                egg harbor twp.south jersey shore
                United States
                Member #112972
                June 29, 2011
                3220 Posts
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                Posted: September 6, 2012, 7:22 pm - IP Logged

                Its a start in the right direction.Better than nothing.Kansas and a few other states allow winners to be anonymous and I've never heard of any problems with it there.

                In jersey you always have to do things in increments,

                the 1st time casinos where proposed it was for the whole state and failed (1974)

                the 2nd time it was proposed for atlantic city only (1976) and passed

                so i hope this will pass and believe it will.

                And then the timeframe extended before the winner is revealed.

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

                  dpoly1's avatar - driver
                  PA
                  United States
                  Member #66141
                  October 16, 2008
                  1456 Posts
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                  Posted: September 6, 2012, 7:35 pm - IP Logged

                  Other states need to think about this, too.  I hope it passes.  A person should not become a target just because they win a lottery.  A year is not a long time but it would give the winners time to do the things they need to do without everyone anticipating their next move.

                  I Agree! 

                  This is a logical choice for ALL States! Thumbs Up

                  dpoly1 - Playing the lottery to save the jobs of those that build, transport, sell & maintain luxury items! -

                   

                  Eschew Poverty ........... Vote Conservative!

                    Avatar
                    Seattle, Washington
                    United States
                    Member #121158
                    January 3, 2012
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                    Posted: September 6, 2012, 8:19 pm - IP Logged

                    YES!  I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it; it's completely unfair that lottery winners are thrown to the wolves when they win the lottery, as it's destroyed many families & lives.  While I think 1 year is too short, this is a fair compromise between public support & transparency of the lottery process, and safety for the lottery winners.  By the end of 1 year, the lottery winners should have had enough time to put into place safeguards so as to severely lessen their public profile.  At that point, the public hullabaloo (and media interest) over winning a lottery will have died down, and they might be able to have a somewhat normal life without all the media intrusion.  I hope, not only does this bill become law in New Jersey, but that other states adopt it as well...

                      Avatar
                      New Jersey
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                      Posted: September 6, 2012, 8:21 pm - IP Logged

                      As a New Jersey resident, all I can say is "Yeah Baby!"


                        United States
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                        September 7, 2011
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                        Posted: September 6, 2012, 8:47 pm - IP Logged

                        Good choice, bring em back alive.....

                          Avatar
                          westboro, ma
                          United States
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                          March 25, 2011
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                          Posted: September 6, 2012, 9:47 pm - IP Logged

                          first of all anything a new jersey politician proposes must be folly. 2nd of all half the fun if you don't hit it yourself is seeing how the winners manage to screw it up for themselves by basically being brain dead. my favorite was that west virginia guy 7 or 8 years ago who completely mismanaged about 300 million. i don't understand why any would care about some stranger mismanaging his lottery hit. if you mismanage it yourself you can only blame yourself. if i can't hit it the least of my worries is that some schmuck from the midwest or pennsylvania can't figure out how to avoid the pitfalls. even if becomes an anonymous option people are going to find out. some jealous relative or friend will reveal it for sure. so this is a moot point. you would have to leave town for parts unknown to even have half a chance.

                            Grovel's avatar - f800e6a39fbfea795d1dcbb09f2244
                            Little Rock, AR
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                            December 19, 2008
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                            Posted: September 6, 2012, 10:46 pm - IP Logged

                            This would be great if every lottery did this. A year would be more than enough time to get away before the scammers come looking.