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April 4, 2012, 6:03 pmIt's Good Business for States to Allow Anonymous Lotto Winners.
There appears to be an ongoing debate about states allowing lottery winners to remain anonymous or even what the word anonymous means.
In a delusional state of mind, almost all states believe that if only the name and city-of-residence is posted, that somehow this qualifies as allowing a lottery winner to remain anonymous and they will not be harassed by the press or nefarious relations. I do not consider this practice to be "anoymous" and I have also not yet heard of a good reason why this practice still remains.
Upon preliminary research, the two main reasons I’ve found for NOT having anonymous winners is to allow for publicity (which is said to improve ticket sales) and to validate that the lotteries are not scams and that the winners are legitimate. But where’s the proof to these assumptions? I’m pretty sure the track records for most states (if not all the states) are excellent for having legitimate and honest Lotto agencies. In regards to publicity, no matter who the person is who won, the local area merchant who sold the ticket would still be public information and I can bet that a sign saying they sold the winning ticket would be up in their storefront window faster than the winner can claim the ticket. Why would that not be enough publicity for local press and state lottery agencies required to generate enthusiasm for sales?
And in regards to publicity on past winners, there appears to be more out there regarding how NOT being able to remain anonymous has ruined a winner’s life. And in that vein of discussion, most evidence I’ve seen indicates that when a person’s life is made worse by harassing press or relatives, etc. the winners end up moving – and quite often, out of the state from where they bought the ticket. This seems poor decision making on the part of the states, which should be to make every effort to make sure lotto winnings from its citizens within their state, remain in their state for future financial growth and investment.
It would appear that NOT having anonymous lottery winners only benefits a few in the short term: the local news agencies, the lottery press and those pariah who seek out and feed on naïve winners. What ought to benefit the winners and the state and local economies in the long term, would be the ability to claim lottery winnings truly anonymously and good financial advice delivered to the winners by the state lottery officials at the time of delivery the winnings. It only makes sense to me that state and local lottery officials would want to do everything in their power to allow lottery winners to remain local citizens and spend their money locally and in the same area as where they lived prior to winning.
And, just as a side observation… I have often found that rich people are more apt to give generously to local charities and public institutions if they can do it quietly and because they want to... and NOT because people believe them to be so rich that they should or must do it.
So how do we get a ground swell of citizens to petition their state governments to rectify this obviously counterproductive practice?