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Nebraska weighing anonymity for lottery winners

Jan 28, 2020, 8:57 am

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Nebraska LotteryNebraska Lottery: Nebraska weighing anonymity for lottery winnersRating:

Winners of the Nebraska Lottery both big and small must step into the limelight to accept their prize under state law, a public reveal that can turn a stroke of luck into a potential curse.

Notice of a winner can bring family, friends and "newfound fourth cousins" out of the woodwork to ask for a slice of the prize money, said Sen. Tom Brandt of Plymouth.

Often, the publicity and unwanted fame can become too much for the jackpot winners, Brandt said, no matter how much money comes into their possession.

Some winners go broke, unable to manage their finances responsibly, while others become suicidal from the pressure placed on them by requests for charity, Brandt said. Still other lottery winners will move out of the state to get away from it all.

Brandt introduced a bill (LB798) that would allow Nebraska Lottery players who win $300,000 or more to remain anonymous, blocking their names from being released by creating a new exemption to the Nebraska Public Records laws.

"I don't think this bill will solve all these issues," Brandt told the Legislature's General Affairs Committee on Monday. "But I do think the ability to remain anonymous will allow the winners to hold onto a sense of normalcy and remain in the Good Life."

Seven states allow for total anonymity for lottery winners, Brandt said, while Arizona gives privacy to winners of $100,000 or more, Georgia keeps the names of those who win more than $250,000 private, and Virginia protects the identities of winners who collect more than $10 million. New Jersey last week became the nation's latest state to offer anonymity for lottery winners.

No one testified in support of the bill Monday.

The print and broadcast media outlets in Nebraska stood against Brandt's idea during the hearing, not on the subject matter, but on "keeping the public's business public," according to lobbyist Walt Radcliffe.

"There is something to be said for the public knowing who wins, other than just voyeurism," Radcliffe said.

Knowing the winners maintains transparency and integrity in the state's lottery games, he added, a portion of which funds education and environmental initiatives in Nebraska.

In 2006, eight Lincoln co-workers split what was then the largest Powerball jackpot, with each pocketing an immediate $15.5 million after taxes.

Their big win, and their individual stories, were not only headline news in Lincoln, but across the country.

Brandt said Monday while future winners would be kept out of the public eye, their identities would still be known to the Nebraska Lottery, which could provide the safeguards Radcliffe alluded to.

Monday's debate turned briefly into what balance exemptions to the public-records statutes should strike.

Radcliffe said while state law says court proceedings should be open to the public, it also closes to the media hearings for juveniles, which he said the print and broadcast outlets in the state respect.

Committee Chairman Tom Briese of Albion asked Radcliffe if Media of Nebraska would agree to an exemption that could potentially prevent Nebraskans from suffering mental health problems or attempting suicide would also be worthwhile.

The longtime lobbyist said there are plenty of ways the Legislature could preempt harmful behaviors through legislation — he mentioned gun control specifically — but has chosen not to.

The committee took no action on the bill Monday.

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Lincoln Journal Star

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26 comments. Last comment 6 months ago by rcbbuckeye.
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Simpsonville
United States
Member #163184
January 22, 2015
2231 Posts
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Posted: January 28, 2020, 9:02 am - IP Logged

Albeit slowly, and maybe not @ all, seems like the Domino effect may be coming to states for anonymity.

Like Nike says 'Just do it'.

    benjibanks's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
    Los Angeles
    United States
    Member #187099
    January 12, 2018
    66 Posts
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    Posted: January 28, 2020, 12:40 pm - IP Logged

    Hopefully California does the same.  At least, allow winners to claim with an LLC

      Avatar
      DMV
      United States
      Member #183847
      August 18, 2017
      283 Posts
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      Posted: January 28, 2020, 2:33 pm - IP Logged

      Hopefully California does the same.  At least, allow winners to claim with an LLC

      Nooooooo NEVER No No

        music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
        Fresno, California
        United States
        Member #157851
        August 2, 2014
        3927 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: January 28, 2020, 3:00 pm - IP Logged

        "Jerks" Jealous, Envious, Resentful, Killjoys ruin life for a winner.

         The winners may be asked for a story by the media after being harassed but do not want the extra publicity. This may be why we do not hear about the lives of winners. 

          I hope that Nebraska learns from the experience of American winners as well as winners around the World.

          Such as the U.K.   

         Given the choice of anonymity most players choose it. The ones who go public soon regret it.

         "We are all in this together!" 

          hearsetrax's avatar - alien on_computer.jpg

          United States
          Member #52343
          May 21, 2007
          3272 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: January 28, 2020, 5:34 pm - IP Logged

          Albeit slowly, and maybe not @ all, seems like the Domino effect may be coming to states for anonymity.

          Like Nike says 'Just do it'.

            cottoneyedjoe's avatar - cuonvFT

            United States
            Member #197033
            March 28, 2019
            538 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: January 28, 2020, 7:28 pm - IP Logged

            "There is something to be said for the public knowing who wins, other than just voyeurism," Radcliffe said.

            Maybe, but unfortunately voyeurism is 90% of it. 

            ... Sooper dooper top seekrit winning numbers: 5 16 17 24 33 52 ...

              Avatar
              San Diego, CA
              United States
              Member #58384
              February 12, 2008
              310 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: January 28, 2020, 8:39 pm - IP Logged

              Aren't these drawings overseen by third parties like an accounting firm anyway?

                Avatar
                Elkins,WV
                United States
                Member #3210
                January 3, 2004
                69 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: January 28, 2020, 8:50 pm - IP Logged

                WTF if no one sees the winners what's the point in believing anyone wins it defeats the purpose

                  db101's avatar - RB55Ms1

                  United States
                  Member #202923
                  December 14, 2019
                  267 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: January 28, 2020, 9:02 pm - IP Logged

                  WTF if no one sees the winners what's the point in believing anyone wins it defeats the purpose

                  The real purpose of the lottery is to make money for the state. I believe the recent spate of anonymity laws may be because the lotteries did some market research that indicated people would play more often if they didn't have to be exposed when they won. Just a theory. It's always about money in the end.

                  News outlets always lobby against these laws because they get a lot of clicks from the "voyeurs" which leads to more ad revenue for them. Follow the money, as they say.

                    Avatar
                    Pennsylvania
                    United States
                    Member #78050
                    August 6, 2009
                    833 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: January 29, 2020, 8:03 am - IP Logged

                    If I won, correction, when I win, I don't give a flying pig who knows.  They ain't getting a dime!   If you are not in my life now, you won't be after I win.  Anyway, I don't like any of my cousins! 

                    The magical key?  A lawyer (keep a keen eye on them) and a financial adviser.  Trust no one with your money, but take sage advice to consider.   Remember, it's YOUR money.  Be cheap.  Most people I know that do have money are a little tight with their money. 

                    Life Is Wonderful If You Don't Weaken

                      Avatar
                      Northern Beaches
                      Australia
                      Member #187037
                      January 9, 2018
                      122 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: January 29, 2020, 8:13 am - IP Logged

                      The UK National Lottery, which is the most successful lottery in the world, gives all winners the option to remain anonymous, which the vast majority do. The Nebraska Lottery should also follow the UK Lottery's practice of giving winners access to independent, professional advice.

                        viceroy2's avatar - viceroy red.jpg?w=1075

                        United States
                        Member #85364
                        January 14, 2010
                        31 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: January 29, 2020, 8:29 am - IP Logged

                        WTF if no one sees the winners what's the point in believing anyone wins it defeats the purpose

                        because I don't want YOU or any of my "loving family members" coming at me, AFTER I win, trying to gaslight me into thinking I'm too stupid to manage my money, and THEY...are....I don't want the confrontation.

                        I got in-laws who have ghosted me, permanently ...because they know that my late wife, who was BLACK, and I, voted for Trump, and that's only AFTER she passed...and I was, understandably UPSET....

                        You think I want them coming out of the woodwork after a GREAT BIG WIN like PB or MM, trying to gaslight me into handing them over control.....?

                        I want them to like me and want me around for ME, and not because THEY KNOW I'm a billionaire

                        It's the same argument Clint Eastwood made about Gun Control....

                        "SURE I believe in Gun Control....if there's guns, I'm controlling them...." as if to say....NOT THE STATE...and NOT YOU.

                        That poor guy from Wisconsin who won ( I shouldn't say 'poor' he's rich now) ....you actually think he's going to STAY in the state?  HELL NO....
                        there goes all that TAX MONEY that WI could have had....and all that money that WI charities could have gotten...

                        I didn't purchase my tickets being forced to announce I purchased them...and risk running the ire of people who tell me "OH YOU'RE SO STUPID" and they act accordingly and I lose out of a hell of a lot of things.....

                        So you think I should be forced to be EXPOSED.....because YOU DEMAND IT or you won't play?

                        BUGZHWA, WITH KETCHUP!

                          Avatar
                          Simpsonville
                          United States
                          Member #163184
                          January 22, 2015
                          2231 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: January 29, 2020, 11:35 am - IP Logged

                          If I won, correction, when I win, I don't give a flying pig who knows.  They ain't getting a dime!   If you are not in my life now, you won't be after I win.  Anyway, I don't like any of my cousins! 

                          The magical key?  A lawyer (keep a keen eye on them) and a financial adviser.  Trust no one with your money, but take sage advice to consider.   Remember, it's YOUR money.  Be cheap.  Most people I know that do have money are a little tight with their money. 

                          Know I said this before.   ABC has a financial commentator who had addressed this issue years ago about being hounded by family, friends, etc begging for money when you win the lottery.  She said have your Financial Adviser simply tell them NO!   Makes me laugh to this day.

                          My Sister, who never ever plays told my older Brother that when you win 'you have to give me some'.   He said sure, at the current interest rate.   She's got bags of money and will never spend it all, though talking to her you'd think she is poor as dirt.  LOL to her too.

                            Avatar
                            DMV
                            United States
                            Member #183847
                            August 18, 2017
                            283 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: January 29, 2020, 1:31 pm - IP Logged

                            because I don't want YOU or any of my "loving family members" coming at me, AFTER I win, trying to gaslight me into thinking I'm too stupid to manage my money, and THEY...are....I don't want the confrontation.

                            I got in-laws who have ghosted me, permanently ...because they know that my late wife, who was BLACK, and I, voted for Trump, and that's only AFTER she passed...and I was, understandably UPSET....

                            You think I want them coming out of the woodwork after a GREAT BIG WIN like PB or MM, trying to gaslight me into handing them over control.....?

                            I want them to like me and want me around for ME, and not because THEY KNOW I'm a billionaire

                            It's the same argument Clint Eastwood made about Gun Control....

                            "SURE I believe in Gun Control....if there's guns, I'm controlling them...." as if to say....NOT THE STATE...and NOT YOU.

                            That poor guy from Wisconsin who won ( I shouldn't say 'poor' he's rich now) ....you actually think he's going to STAY in the state?  HELL NO....
                            there goes all that TAX MONEY that WI could have had....and all that money that WI charities could have gotten...

                            I didn't purchase my tickets being forced to announce I purchased them...and risk running the ire of people who tell me "OH YOU'RE SO STUPID" and they act accordingly and I lose out of a hell of a lot of things.....

                            So you think I should be forced to be EXPOSED.....because YOU DEMAND IT or you won't play?

                            BUGZHWA, WITH KETCHUP!

                            "So you think I should be forced to be EXPOSED.....because YOU DEMAND IT or you won't play?"

                             

                            Why yes, I do demand such things.