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N.J. weighs keeping lottery winners anonymous

Feb 21, 2019, 5:37 pm

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New Jersey LotteryNew Jersey Lottery: N.J. weighs keeping lottery winners anonymousRating:

So you've won the lottery and suddenly you find you have a bunch of new relatives. Distant cousins. A long-lost half-sister.

New Jersey lawmakers are looking to protect state lottery winners from potential moochers and scammers by allowing them to remain anonymous.

Only a handful of states permit lottery winners to keep their good fortune private, although some allow winners to put their money into trusts, allowing them some degree of anonymity.

A bill before the state Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation on Thursday (A3616) would allow New Jersey Lottery winners to keep their identities secret forever.

"I think people that win large lottery jackpots become easy targets and may not always have the sophistication to protect themselves at a time when this great attention and wealth falls on them," state Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, a sponsor of the bill, said.

If the spotlight doesn't intimidate you, winners will still be able to opt for the news conference, oversized check and public pomp. It's important that players have the choice, added state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, another sponsor.

"Do I have to tell the world I won? And then you're subject to everyone under the sun coming after you. It's just fair if you want to remain anonymous. You're going to pay the taxes on it. So why do I have to take a picture with somebody holding the big check," he said.

Lawmakers looking at similar legislation in other states talk about the so-called "lottery curse" that befalls some jackpot winners, whether it be bankruptcy or even violence.

New Jerseyan Evelyn Basehore had the rare luck of winning $3.9 million in the state lottery in 1985 and then $1.4 million in 1986. By 2012, she was broke and living in a Brick mobile home park, the New York Post reported.

"Everybody wanted my money," she told the website Bankrate.com in 2004. "Everybody had their hand out. I never learned one simple word in the English language — 'no.'"

Some rare cases have led to murder.

Abraham Shakespeare went won $30 million in the Florida lottery, taking home $17 million, according to news reports. Three years later he went missing and was eventually found buried beneath a concrete slab.

A Florida woman was found guilty in 2012 of first-degree murder after she was accused of befriending, stealing more than $1 million from Shakespeare and then killing him, according to reports.

Burzichelli sponsored similar legislation in 2013. The legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill he sponsored in 2013 to grant winners anonymity for a year — enough time to get their legal and financial affairs in order. But then-Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the legislation, saying it could "undermine the transparency that provides taxpayers confidence in the integrity of the lottery and its games."

"Moreover, the bill could have the unintended consequence of reducing lottery sales by hampering marketing efforts and the public excitement generated when lottery winners are announced," he said at the time.

Burzichelli said publicity shouldn't guide the state's policy.

"If that person wants that spotlight they can elect to have it, but if a person wants their privacy they should be entitled to it," he said.

But anonymity — names and addresses would be exempt from the state's open records laws — doesn't mean complete secrecy. State agencies would be able to share the information internally to collect back child support, public assistance overpayments, delinquent or defaulted student loan payments and other debts, according to the proposed legislation.

NJ

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15 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by brees2012.
Page 1 of 2
Avatar
New Member
Elizabeth, NJ
United States
Member #171098
December 30, 2015
5 Posts
Offline

I'm from New Jersey and I would be really nervous if everyone knew that I won a substantial amount of money. I think it would be OK to just announce the city and state of the winner without the name of the winner. Maybe even announce the actual store location but again, NOT the real name of the winner.

    Raven62's avatar - binary
    25
    New Jersey
    United States
    Member #17842
    June 28, 2005
    134797 Posts
    Offline

    Is it better to be a famous rich person or an anonymous rich person?

    https://www.quora.com/Is-it-better-to-be-a-famous-rich-person-or-an-anonymous-rich-person

    A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

    Catch-22: A dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

    Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges: When the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous.

      Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
      100
      Zeta Reticuli Star System
      United States
      Member #30469
      January 17, 2006
      11508 Posts
      Offline

      Excellent link, Raven62.

      Every state lottery director should have to read it.

      Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any. So many systems, so many theories, so few jackpot winners. 

      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.

        Avatar
        Simpsonville
        United States
        Member #163184
        January 22, 2015
        2328 Posts
        Offline

        Perhaps the thought of lottery integrity by plastering names and or photographs needs to be re-examined.  Both DE & MD just to the south of NJ are anonymous.  Has any bad publicity/corruption come out of those states?  In this age of lots of crazies out there it is time for the winner to have a say so.

          Avatar

          United States
          Member #34930
          March 9, 2006
          209 Posts
          Offline

          "Lawmakers looking at similar legislation in other states"

          Arizona HB2552

          "Stipulates that upon request of a prizewinner that is paid a lottery prize or winnings of $100,000 or more, the name of the prizewinner is confidential and not a public record."

          "Specifies that if confidentiality is not requested, the name of the prizewinner is confidential and not a public record for 90 days from the date the prize is awarded."

            Artist77's avatar - batman14

            United States
            Member #121741
            January 16, 2012
            7729 Posts
            Offline

            I really think that lawsuit filed by the woman who won the New Hampshire lottery (and signed the ticket by mistake), helped to move the anonymous option forward across other states.

            Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grace.  We will rebuild!

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

              I really think that lawsuit filed by the woman who won the New Hampshire lottery (and signed the ticket by mistake), helped to move the anonymous option forward across other states.

              I Agree!with you Artist77.  Continuous drops of water fill a bucket to overflowing. Change might be scary but it is necessary.

                I am here in California and have written before about saying, NO to the media availability and NO to the photo celebrity. Others have gone before me and succeeded in this fight. 

               If I lose and am forced to do both events than I will do the five-minute walk of fame. I am considering again the advantages of choosing the Annuity as the prize levels increase to highs that would make that choice workable. After winning the Annuity I expect I will have fewer beggars and hangers-on.Cheers

               "We are all in this together!" 

                Avatar
                New Member

                United States
                Member #193208
                October 23, 2018
                6 Posts
                Offline

                . Hope this gets passed before i win big!

                  Artist77's avatar - batman14

                  United States
                  Member #121741
                  January 16, 2012
                  7729 Posts
                  Offline

                  . Hope this gets passed before i win big!

                  Firesauce, are you related to Hotsauce?

                  Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grace.  We will rebuild!

                    Avatar
                    Simpsonville
                    United States
                    Member #163184
                    January 22, 2015
                    2328 Posts
                    Offline

                    Saw on the local news a NJ woman won the NJ lotto...going to let Todd fill in all the details about her.  Another feel good story coming up.

                      Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
                      100
                      Zeta Reticuli Star System
                      United States
                      Member #30469
                      January 17, 2006
                      11508 Posts
                      Offline

                      Firesauce, are you related to Hotsauce?

                      Green laugh

                      Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any. So many systems, so many theories, so few jackpot winners. 

                      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.

                        Artist77's avatar - batman14

                        United States
                        Member #121741
                        January 16, 2012
                        7729 Posts
                        Offline

                        Green laugh

                        He may have to search the past posts to get what I said. Lol

                        Great name for a trust also. The Hot Sauce trust.

                        Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grace.  We will rebuild!

                          Cassie8620's avatar - oGH0ok
                          California
                          United States
                          Member #180566
                          March 13, 2017
                          4413 Posts
                          Offline

                          . Hope this gets passed before i win big!

                          lol LOLgood 1 firesauce.  o and good luck 1 day on winning there in NJ.

                          Now,

                          I  personally feel no 1 should have to be forced to share who they are (or)leave it up to the ownerSmiley of the big jackpot$$$ him or her can choose if they want their name publicized, with a big fat $$$ check in front of the cameras, and or as in other states:

                          >Age is fine and or age range...

                          >City,County it was purchased and or won at, so others can continue to have such hope, that feasibly it will happen to them in that specified city, county in N.J

                          >Must give a 1st or last name(again by choice)of the owner of the big lottery game they just were blessed to win) and or INITIALS and city they reside in, county.

                           NJ has a great new (D)Governor i heard who won, against a republican woman so, no more republican( Gov.Christie)hence, it might just happen, with Murphy.

                          Winning so far this year:

                          $22,000!

                           

                          So,Let's Go NC !!!Banana Time 2 break the bank, baby!!!

                          0310 0131 0908 1623 2460 2464 2852 3009 3522 3856

                          4468 6384 4767 6393  7447 7546 7647 7687 7678 8665 8667

                          6442 0305 0306 1061 1106,1120,1114,1117,1211

                          1212 1031 1034, 1215,7678 7897, 7898 8768 8486

                          4764 4774 6747 7077   4774 7447 3533,5592,5593,5910,5925...

                          7640 7689 7898 8667 8798 9009 9899 9178 9817 9887

                            LottoBux's avatar - ryn8iCO
                            25
                            Ontario
                            Canada
                            Member #109239
                            April 9, 2011
                            60473 Posts
                            Offline

                            Saw on the local news a NJ woman won the NJ lotto...going to let Todd fill in all the details about her.  Another feel good story coming up.

                            Here It Is

                            https://www.lotterypost.com/news/325585