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Pa. lawmaker wants to give lottery winners right to remain anonymous

Pennsylvania LotteryPennsylvania Lottery: Pa. lawmaker wants to give lottery winners right to remain anonymous
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HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, lawmaker unveiled legislation Friday that would allow lottery winners to keep their identities hidden from the public.

State Rep. Ted Harhai, D-58, Monessen, said he believes the proposal would help lottery winners avoid the pitfalls that have plagued many past prize winners, from alleged murder attempts to thefts and scams.

"I think providing this option is necessary," Harhai said in a statement. "In particular, multi-state lottery jackpots can reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars, and many people, both legitimate and criminal, come out of the woodwork to try to reap some of those winnings for themselves. Allowing winners the option of remaining anonymous is the least we can do to protect them from those who would prey upon them."

Under House Bill 1893, lottery prize winners could decide not to disclose their names to the public. The city and county of the lottery winner would still be released. The legislation would apply to multi-state lottery games, such as Powerball and Mega Millions.

Only a handful of states allow lottery winners to hide their identities. Pennsylvania Lottery spokesman Gary Miller said releasing their names ensures greater transparency and trust in the games.

"The lottery has long viewed the identities of winners as a public record because this protects the lottery's integrity and reassures players that our winners are real people," Miller said. "Anyone who receives a check from the state is technically a public record."

If Harhai's bill advances, Pennsylvania could become the seventh state to grant lottery winners anonymity, along with Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, South Carolina, Kansas and North Dakota.

The Pennsylvania Lottery has not taken a stance on Harhai's bill and will leave it up to the General Assembly to decide on such a policy change, Miller said.

However, the state system has taken some steps to address concerns over the safety of lottery winners. Last spring, after learning some past winners had been targeted by scam artists, the Pennsylvania Lottery stopped posting full names of winners, Miller said. Now, the list only includes the winners' first names, first letter of their last names and counties of residence, unless the winners choose to disclose more details.

The state lottery website has also published a list of tips to help players avoid getting scammed, such as by falling for phony calls and emails that request bank account information or fees to claim a prize.

"We want lottery winners to take common-sense steps to protect themselves against becoming the victims of scam artists," Miller said. "We never require anybody to pay any money or to make a purchase to claim a prize."

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77 comments. Last comment 7 months ago by Kejana48.
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helpmewin's avatar - dandy
u$a
United States
Member #106669
February 22, 2011
16506 Posts
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Posted: December 8, 2013, 9:48 am - IP Logged

This is actually not a bad idea i  like to see the pictures but safety first i guess

                 

    Slick Nick's avatar - Lottery-035.jpg
    Rochester
    United States
    Member #103285
    January 1, 2011
    550 Posts
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    Posted: December 8, 2013, 9:57 am - IP Logged

    I definitely support the identities of winners to be hidden. Smash

    Money is a terrible master, but a great servant...Smile

      Astekblue's avatar - Tarlor
      Kentucky
      United States
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      March 12, 2006
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      Posted: December 8, 2013, 10:12 am - IP Logged

      Good   for   Pa.    Thumbs Up

       

      I  hope  they   do

       

       

      I   think  all   states   should    do    that

       

      Congress  asks  the  WH   for  stuff  all  the  time  and  they  wont  release  much

       

      So  if  they  can  hide   stuff..............why  cant  a   lottery  winners  name  be  hidden   also   Smile

       

      I  have  always  felt  that  a   large  lottery  winner  should  have  the  option   to   remain  anonymous

       

      If   they  so   chose   to   do   so

       

       

      I  also  think  they  should  not  tax  lottery  winnings  ( like  Canada )  but  we  all  know  that  aint  gonna  happen

        sully16's avatar - sharan
        Listens to the wind

        United States
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        October 28, 2009
        18783 Posts
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        Posted: December 8, 2013, 10:15 am - IP Logged

        Good   for   Pa.    Thumbs Up

         

        I  hope  they   do

         

         

        I   think  all   states   should    do    that

         

        Congress  asks  the  WH   for  stuff  all  the  time  and  they  wont  release  much

         

        So  if  they  can  hide   stuff..............why  cant  a   lottery  winners  name  be  hidden   also   Smile

         

        I  have  always  felt  that  a   large  lottery  winner  should  have  the  option   to   remain  anonymous

         

        If   they  so   chose   to   do   so

         

         

        I  also  think  they  should  not  tax  lottery  winnings  ( like  Canada )  but  we  all  know  that  aint  gonna  happen

        I agree

        There's only one US Flag

          dpoly1's avatar - driver
          PA
          United States
          Member #66141
          October 16, 2008
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          Posted: December 8, 2013, 10:19 am - IP Logged

          I am from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and I support this 100%!

          The Greed of Envy & too many crooks make this necessary!

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

           

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

            DDOH937's avatar - Lottery-028.jpg

            United States
            Member #149603
            December 4, 2013
            192 Posts
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            Posted: December 8, 2013, 10:24 am - IP Logged

            I Love this but only selfishly. I've deliberately gone out of my way to purchase tickets in anonymous Lottery States because if i win i want NO ONE to know. I love this move but its a slippery slope. If i win, i want to remain anonymous. If you win, you want to remain anonymous, fair. But what happens when it all goes 'dark' and no one really knows anyone who wins??? Not good. Its tricky and i'm not sure what the solution is. Maybe it could be set up where if the win is a multi-state pot (PB/MM) then one has the right to remain in the dark, but if its a State Lottery, then it becomes public record? Not ideal but as much as i would love to and would choose to remain anonymous, it'd get a bit interesting to say the least is no one ever anyone who really won. Especially with these jackpots going to the clouds now a days. Both sides have valid points, not sure which i ultimately side with. What's your opinion, please do share...

            "It's good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it's good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven't lost the things that money can't buy." - George Lorimer

              mightwin's avatar - questns

              United States
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              January 5, 2011
              442 Posts
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              Posted: December 8, 2013, 10:29 am - IP Logged

              Won't pass, that would make way to much sense. Silly lawmaker what was he thinking........

                maringoman's avatar - kobold
                Massachusetts
                United States
                Member #37433
                April 14, 2006
                1905 Posts
                Online
                Posted: December 8, 2013, 12:21 pm - IP Logged

                This is a great move. Nobody needs to know the identities of the winners. I hope other states also do this.

                It's a futile effort.

                  Avatar
                  San Diego, CA
                  United States
                  Member #58386
                  February 12, 2008
                  267 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: December 8, 2013, 12:47 pm - IP Logged

                  I Love this but only selfishly. I've deliberately gone out of my way to purchase tickets in anonymous Lottery States because if i win i want NO ONE to know. I love this move but its a slippery slope. If i win, i want to remain anonymous. If you win, you want to remain anonymous, fair. But what happens when it all goes 'dark' and no one really knows anyone who wins??? Not good. Its tricky and i'm not sure what the solution is. Maybe it could be set up where if the win is a multi-state pot (PB/MM) then one has the right to remain in the dark, but if its a State Lottery, then it becomes public record? Not ideal but as much as i would love to and would choose to remain anonymous, it'd get a bit interesting to say the least is no one ever anyone who really won. Especially with these jackpots going to the clouds now a days. Both sides have valid points, not sure which i ultimately side with. What's your opinion, please do share...

                  Independent auditor would be a solution.

                    HoLeeKau's avatar - YheaShea
                    Boise, ID
                    United States
                    Member #94285
                    July 17, 2010
                    1611 Posts
                    Online
                    Posted: December 8, 2013, 12:52 pm - IP Logged

                    I don't think it'll ever "go dark."  There are plenty of people out there who relish the spotlight and want their 15 minutes.  Idaho Lottery does not require photos or any publicity other than releasing name and city, but go to their web page and it's plastered with photos of people winning up to 100K.  A LEO won a few hundred thou a couple years ago, and he did the televised interview and photo ops.

                    Anybody up to research whether any big winners in anonymous states have chosen to release their names?

                      Goteki54's avatar - Lottery-007.jpg
                      Baltimore, MD
                      United States
                      Member #143337
                      May 30, 2013
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                      Posted: December 8, 2013, 1:02 pm - IP Logged

                      This is a great idea, I'm surprised a politician came up with it. Let's see if this great idea goes from legislation to actually making it to the Governor's desk to be signed and become law.

                      Goteki, have a Snickers. Why? Because you always get angry when you have a case of the one offs on your lottery tickets. Better? No, I'm still ticked off!Hit With Stick

                        Avatar

                        United States
                        Member #135809
                        November 29, 2012
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                        Posted: December 8, 2013, 1:20 pm - IP Logged

                        First name last initial seems reasonable for all state lotteries to move to if they currently release full name

                          Teddi's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg

                          United States
                          Member #142504
                          May 13, 2013
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                          Posted: December 8, 2013, 1:24 pm - IP Logged

                          This shouldn't even be a question. And the lottery really needs to stop pretending that it's for the sake of transparency. Is anyone really buying that? Both PB and MM changed their structure to pretty much guarantee MUCH larger jackpots. The more money that is involved the crazier people get. The lottery officials should worry less about milking free publicity and more about the safety of the winners. The size of the JP themselves should be enough of a draw. Publicizing the win should be left up to the winner. 

                          As I said yesterday in a discussion, there are enough winners who relish showing off and who love basking in the limelight that the lottery will get to do its capitalizing on the rags to riches story from those who opt to give a press conference. But that should really be the winners' choice, it shouldn't be a forced issue.

                            Teddi's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg

                            United States
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                            May 13, 2013
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                            Posted: December 8, 2013, 1:31 pm - IP Logged

                            Independent auditor would be a solution.

                            They already have an independent auditor. Which is why this has nothing at all to do with transparency and all about the publicity they get from the news conferences. Look what they did to poor Gloria. If publicizing her name, age and address weren't enough, they called the media when she went to the lottery office to fill out her paperwork. It wasn't enough for them to give out her details, they WANTED a camera crew there too. Transparency my backside.