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Texas legislature to consider lottery winner anonymity bill

May 9, 2015, 7:39 am

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Texas LotteryTexas Lottery: Texas legislature to consider lottery winner anonymity billRating:

AUSTIN, Tex. — What a turnaround.

In the 2013 session the Texas House passed a bill aimed at abolishing the state lottery.

But after some soul-searching — mainly confronted with the fact the state would lose $1.1 billion a year for public education — some representatives who wanted to eliminate the Texas Lottery Commission reversed their vote, in essence resuscitating the game.

Now House members may go a step further.

On Tuesday the 150-member chamber will consider a bill that would allow winners of more than $1 million to remain anonymous. Under current Texas law they can't.

Rep. Ryan Guillen said the personal safety and peace of mind of lottery winners were key considerations for filing House Bill 108.

"This actually came to me from a constituent who told me she aspires to win the lottery but she lives on the border and she is afraid of somebody kidnapping her for a ransom" Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, said.

"But beyond that, we all have heard many stories about being hassled a great deal, folks who win the lottery are hassled" by people asking them for money, Guillen said. "This will give them the opportunity, the option, that if they want to be anonymous they can be anonymous."

Rep. John Kuempel, a member of the House Licensing & Administrative Procedures — the panel that screened HB 108 — likes Guillen's bill for similar reasons.

"The large part of it is public safety and personal safety," Kuempel, R-Seguin, said. "If I win $100 million I certainly want to remain anonymous...it is a personal right you should have."

Kuempel, who last year chaired a special committee that looked into the impact the abolition of the lottery would have on the state budget, emphasized the game is staying.

"If there is a bill (aimed at abolishing it) I don't know about it," he said.

Actually, Rep. Scott Sanford filed one but did not pursue it.

"We decided not to push on it because it would not have been successful," Sanford, R-McKinney, said. "The House isn't there yet."

Kuempel said the vote in the previous session was reversed the same day because even representatives opposed to gambling realized the severe impact the elimination of the Texas lottery would have on the public education budget.

Where would the state get the 1.1 billion it gets from the lottery? he asked.

Veteran Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo, who voted against the creation of the Texas Lottery in the early 1990s, said though he also doesn't expect a push to abolish the lottery in this session, it is something the Legislature should keep considering.

One of the possibilities is a gradual phase out, Smithee, Sanford and other lottery critics said.

"We've got to do it in way that doesn't hit the education budget real hard," Sanford said.

Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo, said there was no major attempt to abolish the lottery this session because it was not a Sunset bill.

This was in reference to a review of every state agency, usually every 12 years. A joint legislative panel named the Sunset Advisory Commission recommends to the Legislature whether an agency it reviews should be abolished, overhauled or unchanged.

"There are a lot of opinions on how the commission operates and whether there should be a lottery at all," Price, vice chairman of the Sunset Commission, said.

But since the Lottery Commission was reviewed in the previous legislative cycle, no Sunset bill is expected this year or in the foreseeable future, Price explained.

But even if a regular bill to abolish the lottery advances, the near death of the Lottery Commission in 2013 showed — unless there is a well-thought plan to replace the revenue loss — the lawmakers won't mess with the state lottery anytime soon because, even in prosperous times, it's hard to replace lost revenue.

Moreover, pass or fail, the fact Guillen's bill has come this far is yet another indication — in the Texas Legislature — reliable revenue carries more weight than political ideology.

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27 comments. Last comment 6 years ago by rcbbuckeye.
Page 1 of 2
music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
USN United States Navy
Fresno, California
United States
Member #157851
August 2, 2014
3959 Posts
Offline

"Don't mess with Texas".      Winners of more then $1 million to remain anonymous is highly welcome almost everywhere. A winner has so much swirling around their life this helps them remain sane and safe.

  We should follow the example of the States that have laws protecting winners with anonymity i.e. Kansas, Maryland,Delaware,  Ohio .  And one other State I think.

 "We are all in this together!" 

    hearsetrax's avatar - alien on_computer.jpg

    United States
    Member #52343
    May 21, 2007
    3297 Posts
    Offline

    "Don't mess with Texas".      Winners of more then $1 million to remain anonymous is highly welcome almost everywhere. A winner has so much swirling around their life this helps them remain sane and safe.

      We should follow the example of the States that have laws protecting winners with anonymity i.e. Kansas, Maryland,Delaware,  Ohio .  And one other State I think.

    Roll Eyes  6 states and hopefully the rest of the states sooner then later

      pickone4me's avatar - lightbulb
      Wisconsin
      United States
      Member #104958
      January 23, 2011
      1153 Posts
      Offline

      Nice!  Now how about the rest of the states!

      Redacted

        music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
        USN United States Navy
        Fresno, California
        United States
        Member #157851
        August 2, 2014
        3959 Posts
        Offline

        Thank You hearsetrax for your input and help.  The law should be called,"the Abraham Shakespeare law".  If only he was still alive , may he rest in peace. Abraham was an illiterate but good natured person who won in Florida. Dee Dee Moore got her claws into his winnings then shot him twice in the chest. She is serving life without parole. Two lives wasted for no reason.

         "We are all in this together!" 

          Avatar

          United States
          Member #141030
          April 2, 2013
          1481 Posts
          Offline

          Why put a dollar figure on our choice/safety?. Just give us two boxes....check box1 if you want to stay anonymous, check box2 if you don't. Better still, keep everybody anonymous and let the hams and the hot dogs go out there and seek their own publicity.

          Seek and ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

          Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

            CDanaT's avatar - Nolz june15.jpg
            Central TN
            United States
            Member #121189
            January 4, 2012
            4835 Posts
            Offline

            Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh......Kudos state reps, for realizing the spring flowers are blooming and the coffee's-a-brewing. You have renewed my faith (just a smidge) that reasonableness and common sense still does exist in government officials. Thanks for doing your jobs and keeping the safety/security of the folks first and foremost.

            Integrity: There is just no substitute.

              Technut's avatar - moon
              3rd Rock from Sun
              United States
              Member #159098
              September 13, 2014
              173 Posts
              Offline

              I do favor remaining anonymous. But i also don't want to give up a part of my winnings for that right either.

              As far as Texas gettin rid of the lottery i doubt it will happen anytime soon or ever.

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

                Teddi's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg

                United States
                Member #142495
                May 13, 2013
                1391 Posts
                Offline

                Finally, a group of legislators with sense and who actually have the brains to think of the personal safety and well-being of the winners. I'm sure the lottery will lobby hard against this, since they view free publicity as more important than an individual's life, but I'm hopeful that this bill will pass. Kudos to them. Now, let's get the other states to follow suit.

                  LottoMetro's avatar - Lottery-024.jpg
                  Happyland
                  United States
                  Member #146340
                  September 1, 2013
                  1146 Posts
                  Offline

                  I do favor remaining anonymous. But i also don't want to give up a part of my winnings for that right either.

                  As far as Texas gettin rid of the lottery i doubt it will happen anytime soon or ever.

                  I went to Texas' website and looked up this bill. Didn't see anything about an "anonymity fee" or cost that I think was mentioned elsewhere. I did see that your information could be released after 30 days if you took the prize in installments, though

                  If the chances of winning the jackpot are so slim, why play when the jackpot is so small? Your chances never change, but the potential payoff does.
                  If a crystal ball showed you the future of the rest of your life, and in that future you will never win a jackpot, would you still play?

                  P&L % = Total Win($)/Total Wager($) - 1

                    Technut's avatar - moon
                    3rd Rock from Sun
                    United States
                    Member #159098
                    September 13, 2014
                    173 Posts
                    Offline

                    I went to Texas' website and looked up this bill. Didn't see anything about an "anonymity fee" or cost that I think was mentioned elsewhere. I did see that your information could be released after 30 days if you took the prize in installments, though

                    That fee i was reffering to was in another post a while back where they would take 5% so you could keep your privacy. I think that is BS.

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

                      Avatar
                      Kentucky
                      United States
                      Member #32651
                      February 14, 2006
                      9041 Posts
                      Offline

                      I do favor remaining anonymous. But i also don't want to give up a part of my winnings for that right either.

                      As far as Texas gettin rid of the lottery i doubt it will happen anytime soon or ever.

                      There are almost 27 million people in Texas, how man players were affected without anonymity?

                        Bondi Junction
                        Australia
                        Member #57240
                        December 24, 2007
                        1102 Posts
                        Offline

                        If you live in Texas, please write to your  representative in support of winners' right to anonymity.

                        We all get a lot out of lotteries!

                          Bondi Junction
                          Australia
                          Member #57240
                          December 24, 2007
                          1102 Posts
                          Offline

                          "This actually came to me from a constituent who told me she aspires to win the lottery but she lives on the border and she is afraid of somebody kidnapping her for a ransom" Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, said.

                          "But beyond that, we all have heard many stories about being hassled a great deal, folks who win the lottery are hassled" by people asking them for money, Guillen said. "This will give them the opportunity, the option, that if they want to be anonymous they can be anonymous."

                           

                           

                           

                          While I agree with the above statements, it is not only criminals that winners have to worry about.

                           

                           

                          When people win a large amount, and it is known, they can come under enormous pressure from family members to "help" them.

                           

                          It can take a strong person to say "NO", and before long the prize money is spend, with the winner's long-term financial security gone with it.

                          We all get a lot out of lotteries!

                            Bondi Junction
                            Australia
                            Member #57240
                            December 24, 2007
                            1102 Posts
                            Offline

                            There are almost 27 million people in Texas, how man players were affected without anonymity?

                            As it is very few people, why not give them the right to anonymity? What is the point of forcing winners to go public?

                            We all get a lot out of lotteries!