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Arizona bill to allow anonymity for lottery winners clears panel

Arizona LotteryArizona Lottery: Arizona bill to allow anonymity for lottery winners clears panel
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A bill that would allow Arizona lottery winners to remain anonymous moved closer to passage Wednesday following a contentious hearing in a state Senate committee that pitted the Republican sponsor against Democrats who argued it would diminish public accountability.

The bill by Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, was prompted by the public release of a Fountain Hills man's name after he won half of a $587.5 million Powerball jackpot in November. Matthew Good's name was released under Arizona public records laws after he collected the $192 million cash option payout. He's never spoken publicly about his good fortune.

Kavanagh said players' personal safety should not be put at risk just because they're lucky enough to win big.

The bill sailed through the House but ran into opposition in the Senate Commerce, Energy and Military committee Wednesday, including questions from Republicans.

"I don't understand why a lottery winner would be protected and we wouldn't protect other people in similar circumstances," Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, asked, mentioning high-net worth executives as one example.

But Kavanagh said there's a big difference, noting the lottery winners are generally private people who don't seek the limelight.

Kavanagh said Good approached him in Fountain Hills after the bill passed a House committee last month and thanked him for carrying the bill.

"He also said he hasn't had a good night's rest since he won the money because he was so fearful," Kavanagh told the committee.

The bill is opposed by The Arizona Republic, with attorney David Bodney testifying it was well intentioned but flawed.

"It can't be a success without accountability," Bodney said of the Arizona Lottery. "There can be no transparency and accountability if the names of the winners are confidential."

Most states require winners' names to be disclosed in some way. Of 44 states participating in Powerball and 33 in Mega-Millions, only Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota and Ohio allow blanket anonymity.

Some states require an appearance at a press conference. Others, including Arizona, don't require winners to appear in public, but their names can be obtained through public records laws.

The bill isn't opposed by the Arizona Lottery, but other lotteries argue they need the publicity to help sell tickets and that releasing winners' names lets the public know the games aren't fixed.

Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, sparred with Kavanagh, questioning him about whether there could be accountability if winners were anonymous.

"They're now taking away transparency, and that's my concern," Gallardo said.

Kavanagh said there's plenty of checks and balances in the Lottery system without outing big winners.

"Ultimately what we're balancing here is the individual right to privacy and the public's right to know," Kavanagh said. But he said in this case there's no reason to release the names.

The bill, HB2082 passed committee on a 5-2 vote and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

AP

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30 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by jamella724.
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Posted: February 28, 2013, 9:51 am - IP Logged

Hooray for AZ.........Hurray!

    noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
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    Posted: February 28, 2013, 10:02 am - IP Logged

    Hooray for AZ.........Hurray!

    With you there on this one Ronnie.

    Outing a winner's name should be up to the Winner. The excuse that one has to stand before a battery of mics & cameras is nonsense. People will buy lottery tickets regardless of who wins or not.Leaving

     

    Kavanagh said Good approached him in Fountain Hills after the bill passed a House committee last month and thanked him for carrying the bill.

    That right there says it all.

     

    What multi millionaire  is going to take time out of his day to show up and " Thank " a politician for doing the right thing... anyone, anyone?


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      Posted: February 28, 2013, 10:13 am - IP Logged

      I can understand how it is good publicity. If the guy in Fountain Hills had not come forward with his story we would have never known that he walked into a store for a $10. ticket and walked away with $200 million.


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        Posted: February 28, 2013, 10:15 am - IP Logged

        I buy more $10. tickets these days. lol. lol. Yes Nod

          sully16's avatar - sharan
          Listens to the wind
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          Posted: February 28, 2013, 10:17 am - IP Logged

          very smart.

          There's only one US Flag


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            Posted: February 28, 2013, 10:21 am - IP Logged

            very smart.

            Its true. lol. lol. I have to think, "if that guy can spend $10. and win $200 million, so can I" lol.lol. I told a cashier the other day that I was going to spend $10. and win $200 million. He just smiled.

              HoLeeKau's avatar - YheaShea
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              Posted: February 28, 2013, 10:28 am - IP Logged

              I can understand how it is good publicity. If the guy in Fountain Hills had not come forward with his story we would have never known that he walked into a store for a $10. ticket and walked away with $200 million.

              Actually, I'd be more willing to come out with some details if my name wasn't attached to it.  If the lottery releases my name, they get nothing else.  If I can be anonymous, I would do a bit of an interview with them.  I'd tell them how I played, and even a little about my personal background if they want to know.  Just nothing that identifies me.

                dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
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                Posted: February 28, 2013, 10:30 am - IP Logged

                WTG ArizonaThumbs Up

                I Love Pink & Green 1908

                  HoLeeKau's avatar - YheaShea
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                  Posted: February 28, 2013, 10:39 am - IP Logged

                  Thank you Mr. Cavanaugh.

                  There are enough players who want to do the press conference and celebrate in public to keep the public from thinking it's all a sham.

                  And why don't we protect executives too?  Well, people think of lottery winners and executives quite differently.  Even tho many think CEOs make too much money, it's still earned by doing something most of us don't think we could do.  On the other hand, lottery winners are "just lucky" and didn't earn the wealth.  People're thinking that could have been MY ticket that won.  I paid into the lottery and I deserve to have won that jackpot.


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                    Posted: February 28, 2013, 10:50 am - IP Logged

                    Thank you Mr. Cavanaugh.

                    There are enough players who want to do the press conference and celebrate in public to keep the public from thinking it's all a sham.

                    And why don't we protect executives too?  Well, people think of lottery winners and executives quite differently.  Even tho many think CEOs make too much money, it's still earned by doing something most of us don't think we could do.  On the other hand, lottery winners are "just lucky" and didn't earn the wealth.  People're thinking that could have been MY ticket that won.  I paid into the lottery and I deserve to have won that jackpot.

                    How many people can claim they won the lottery because they have lottery playing skills?


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                      Posted: February 28, 2013, 10:51 am - IP Logged

                      What?

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                        Marquette, MI
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                        Posted: February 28, 2013, 11:40 am - IP Logged

                        Michigan should go anonymous too.

                        The woman that won the $7.5 (19) Million  MegaMillions jackpot 3 weeks ago let word slip to the piggery before she claimed the ticket and there were stories about her hiding and shutting off her phone on the local news here.

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                          Zeta Reticuli Star System
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                          Posted: February 28, 2013, 11:53 am - IP Logged

                          From the OP:

                          "...the Republican sponsor against Democrats who argued it would diminish public accountability...."

                          Has anyone ever seen anything about states that do allow winners to be anonymous having "diminsihed public accountability"?

                          I don't think so.

                          Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.

                          Lep

                          There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

                            helpmewin's avatar - dandy
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                            Posted: February 28, 2013, 12:13 pm - IP Logged

                            Hooray for AZ.........Hurray!

                            I Agree! now your safe ronnie win that $$$$$$$$$