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Canadian lottery winner fighting to remain anonymous

Canada Lotto MaxCanada Lotto Max: Canadian lottery winner fighting to remain anonymous
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The winner of a $50 million lottery who waited a year to collect the prize and has still not been named more than a month later is fighting for the right to remain anonymous.

The person doesn't want to be identified as the winner of the March 16, 2014, Lotto Max prize, a source who didn't want to be named said, despite a clear statement by the British Columbia Lottery Corp. (BCLC) that anyone buying a ticket must allow their name and photo to be published before collecting a prize.

The winner has contacted a lawyer and is prepared to fight for anonymity in the courts, the source said.

The BCLC wouldn't comment on whether or not the winner was challenging the identity requirement.

But a request to remain anonymous calls into question the long- and widely-held policy by most lotteries to name winners.

Daniel Senger of Grand Forks said that when he travelled to the Kamloops BCLC headquarters to collect a $5 million 6/49 ticket he had won in February, lottery officials explained they would be taking his picture with an oversized cheque to run on its website.

"I said, 'Supposing I don't want to go along with that' and whatnot," said Senger, 77. "And they said, did you read the back of your ticket, you have to go along with it."

He said he "had a bit of a concern" about revealing his identity because he worried about a flood of phone calls and letters "asking for a handout" and he lived at the end of a quiet street in a rural area and he felt vulnerable.

"I've had a few letters, but not as many as I thought I would," said Senger, who after buying a new pickup and a quad ATV, shared his winnings with his eight children, 18 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and 11 surviving brothers and sisters — "Everybody gets a chunk" — and now lives off his pension as he did before.

And he said with a laugh that he had a .357 Magnum to protect himself from unwanted visitors and it wasn't clear if he was joking.

Senger said it was obvious to him why BCLC wanted to let others know about his winnings, especially when his daughter, who worked at the Overwaitea in Grand Forks said lottery ticket purchases spiked in the days after it became news.

"She said almost every person who came through her till bought a lottery ticket," he said.

Like most government agencies who run lotteries, BCLC makes no apologies for wanting to publish winners' identities.

It's stated clearly on its website "the Corp. has no obligation to pay or deliver a prize" unless the winner meets conditions stated in legalistic language, including that he "is lawfully entitled to possession of the winning ticket" or that he allows the courts decide who is the lawful holder, and he agrees to having his "name, address, place of residence and recent photograph" taken.

"That protects the integrity of gaming and lotteries by being open and transparent," said BCLC spokeswoman Laura Piva-Babcock.

The $50 million Lotto Max ticket, which was turned in just before the year was up to collect the prize, has been verified as authentic but the process continues to verify the rightful owner, she said.

There is no time limit for that process, taking anywhere from a day to months.

BCLC does receive requests for anonymity and it has been granted in the past but it's "very, very rare." Piva-Babcock had no details on why exceptions were made, saying each request is considered on a case-by-case basis.

She said BCLC has drafted its policy within provincial privacy laws.

A spokeswoman for the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C. said it has "dealt with a complaint in the past regarding B.C. Lottery Corp. and the disclosure of personal information when an individual receives lottery winnings," but couldn't provide details.

Anonymity for winners is not allowed by any Canadian lottery corporations, but Loto-Quebec in 2007 temporarily suspended the requirement for winners of amounts over $4 million to be publicly identified after police foiled an extortion plot targeting a Montreal couple who won $27 million. (Loto-Quebec's website has since reinstated the requirement to name winners and includes the provision that in photos winners' faces be uncovered, in reference to that province's controversial burka laws.)

In the U.S., six states — Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and South Carolina — allow winners to remain anonymous.

In Europe, you can opt to remain anonymous, according to a lottery website, which states: "Some people believe it is best to go public so it is over and done with and everyone knows the truth and they will soon be forgotten about. However, some argue that going public is not wise due to the amount of begging letters and pressure for donations."

The lottery companies that allow anonymous winners, include the U.K. National Lottery called Camelot and EuroMillions, run by the lottery corporations in the U.K., France and Spain.

The EuroMillions site includes testimony from a couple who went public after winning £61-million because they felt uncomfortable at the thought of living with a big secret that would have required them to lie to family and friends and because they wanted to increase awareness for their chosen charities.

EuroMillions also gives winners this to think about: "If winners of Camelot go public, they get help dealing with media attention. If they remain anonymous, they're on their own."

Camelot would never release their identity, but "tenacious reporters are nevertheless often able to discover a winner's identity and the winner must then deal with all the attendant press attention without help.

"Neighbours and friends would certainly notice (a change in lifestyle) and could potentially tip off the media. Having the National Lottery's experienced press office behind you then starts to look like a rather attractive option!" it says.

If a winner chooses to keep his identity hidden, Vancouver lawyer Ravi Hira said he should be able to send a trustee to collect it on his behalf if, for instance, going public could endanger his safety.

"If certain people found out I'd won so much money and I'd be at risk, I could retain a lawyer as my trustee to accept my prize for me. He would say, 'I'm the lawyer, I'm not disclosing the name of the client and here's the ticket.' "

Piva-Babcock said she couldn't comment on the specifics of the $50-million winner but said those types of negotiations would be part of the verification process.

Thanks to myturn for the tip.

The Province, Lottery Post Staff

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28 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by Scarlet Anderso.
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hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

United States
Member #52345
May 21, 2007
2657 Posts
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Posted: April 27, 2015, 8:16 am - IP Logged

Skeptical should be most curious to see how this plays out

    Gleno's avatar - Lottery-001.jpg
    New Jersey
    United States
    Member #80354
    September 25, 2009
    705 Posts
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    Posted: April 27, 2015, 9:32 am - IP Logged

    Hope this winner has tried to set up a trust and invested in some disguises.

    Confused

      Technut's avatar - moon
      3rd Rock from Sun
      United States
      Member #159103
      September 13, 2014
      151 Posts
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      Posted: April 27, 2015, 9:41 am - IP Logged

      i hope the best of lucky to this winner. Time will tell if they get what they want.

      Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, Today is a gift that's why it's called the PRESENT! (c8

        pickone4me's avatar - 021414tvlies zpsa453b327.jpg
        Wisconsin
        United States
        Member #104962
        January 23, 2011
        1075 Posts
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        Posted: April 27, 2015, 11:04 am - IP Logged

        Anonymity for winners is not allowed by any Canadian lottery corporations, but Loto-Quebec in 2007 temporarily suspended the requirement for winners of amounts over $4 million to be publicly identified after police foiled an extortion plot targeting a Montreal couple who won $27 million.

        Anonymous claims should always be allowed.  That transparency excuse,  is just that,  an excuse.  There is always something going on behind the scenes when large amounts of money are involved.

        Trump 2016!

          zephbe's avatar - animal butterfly.jpg
          South Carolina
          United States
          Member #77167
          July 15, 2009
          554 Posts
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          Posted: April 27, 2015, 11:21 am - IP Logged

          If he wants the money, he needs to follow the rules.  If he doesn't follow the rules--he forfeits the prize.  He should have been aware of the rules before he purchased a ticket.

          Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.-Rocky Balboa

          “Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours.” – Zig Ziglar

            zephbe's avatar - animal butterfly.jpg
            South Carolina
            United States
            Member #77167
            July 15, 2009
            554 Posts
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            Posted: April 27, 2015, 11:32 am - IP Logged

            If someone is that afraid of being named--why did he/she bother to buy a ticket knowing  there was a chance he/she could win?

            Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up.-Rocky Balboa

            “Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours.” – Zig Ziglar

              Bondi Junction
              Australia
              Member #57242
              December 24, 2007
              1102 Posts
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              Posted: April 27, 2015, 12:27 pm - IP Logged

              Our Responsibility To Winners

               

              As one of the world’s leading lottery operators, Camelot, (the UK lottery operator),  sets global standards when it comes to looking after winners. It offers an unparalleled level of professional support to help and advise new winners throughout this life-changing experience, as well as a unique aftercare service.

              As well as being a time of extreme excitement and happiness, suddenly winning a substantial sum of money can be an overwhelming and emotional experience for many people – but support from Camelot begins as soon as a winner makes a claim on a prize.

              For UK National Lottery prizes over £50,000, our player services team is able to pay them in the comfort of their own home, or alternatively they can choose to have their prize validated at one of our prize payout centres.

              For winners over £500,000, a private banking representative can visit them at home to discuss additional services on offer to winners with new-found wealth. We also arrange for a panel of independent legal and financial experts to visit winners of over £500,000 to offer impartial advice and practical guidelines.

              One of the most important decisions for new winners to make is whether to opt to go public or remain anonymous. If a winner decides to talk publicly about their win, Camelot’s PR team will organise a press conference and handle all media interest on their behalf, removing the anxiety that can accompany talking about a big win.

              If they have requested to remain anonymous, Camelot takes its obligations and duty of care to protect winners’ privacy very seriously. Unless a winner agrees to take full publicity and signs an agreement to that effect, no information about them can be released by Camelot into the public domain.

              We have a dedicated team of winners’ advisers who look after all our major jackpot winners. They remain a source of support and advice for as long as a winner needs – often remaining in touch years after hitting the jackpot.

              We all get a lot out of lotteries!

                Avatar
                New Member
                new york
                United States
                Member #163398
                January 29, 2015
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                Posted: April 27, 2015, 1:44 pm - IP Logged

                Hope this winner has tried to set up a trust and invested in some disguises.

                Confused

                I don't give a <snip> they publish my name or not. I just wanna win. 

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


                  United States
                  Member #108380
                  March 25, 2011
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                  Posted: April 27, 2015, 1:54 pm - IP Logged

                  I don't give a <snip> they publish my name or not. I just wanna win. 

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

                  77 year old clown shouldn't have played if he didn't like the rules. tough toenails. now it will be worse when his name and location is revealed. he should have waited 2 weeks and then gone in on a friday afternoon at 4:30 to avoid some of the publicity.

                    Bondi Junction
                    Australia
                    Member #57242
                    December 24, 2007
                    1102 Posts
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                    Posted: April 27, 2015, 6:41 pm - IP Logged

                    Canada which is a monarchy like the UK, has Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth as head of state, Queen of Canada

                     

                    Likewise, Canadian provinces should following the mother country's lottery policies, not the policies of America state lotteries , which is a republic.

                    We all get a lot out of lotteries!

                      Avatar

                      United States
                      Member #160355
                      October 25, 2014
                      101 Posts
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                      Posted: April 27, 2015, 8:58 pm - IP Logged

                      All winners should be public info. Take the case in Iowa where "the winner" tried to rig the Hot Lotto then go about and have friends etc claim the prize. 

                      If there were others involved in this scam who worked for the lottery and with annominity this could have been pulled off.  We, as other players, have a right to know 

                      if the winner is on the up and up and the game is fair and balanced. You don't get that with anominity. All you get is the gov't/lotto agency telling you everything 

                      was satisified to their standards.  If you trust them...then shame on you

                        Think's avatar - lightbulb
                        Marquette, MI
                        United States
                        Member #20541
                        August 20, 2005
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                        Posted: April 27, 2015, 10:46 pm - IP Logged

                        '  "I said, 'Supposing I don't want to go along with that' and whatnot," said Senger, 77. "And they said, did you read the back of your ticket, you have to go along with it." '

                        And then, of course, there is the obvious question of how you could have read the back of the ticket before you bought it!

                          Avatar
                          Seattle, Washington
                          United States
                          Member #121153
                          January 3, 2012
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                          Posted: April 28, 2015, 2:16 am - IP Logged

                          Unfortunately, due to the conditions on the back of the ticket, this person will have 2 choices: accept the money & all the publicity that comes with it, or give up the money.  It's that simple.

                          Me, I'm all for allowing winners to remain anonymous if they want; we've all seen the video programs about winners who've had all sorts of problems due to people coming at them for money.  And, the only people who are served by the publicity of a lottery win are the lottery executives; their compensation is tied to ticket sales, and lottery winner press conferences/press releases/publicity increase ticket sales, putting more money in their pocket; They don't care what happens to the winner after that.  It sucks, but it's part of the gig if you win millions of dollars...

                            Avatar
                            Seattle, Washington
                            United States
                            Member #121153
                            January 3, 2012
                            120 Posts
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                            Posted: April 28, 2015, 4:16 am - IP Logged

                            Interestingly, the thread right before this article details how lottery winners in the UK not only can opt out on publicity, but their lottery advises them on how to handle their lottery win so as to reduce the chances of becoming a "lotto loser".  Too bad the U.S. and Canada don't have similar programs...