I had a list of 7 questions about the Texas State Lottery, so I emailed them; a week after I sent the email they responded. Although all the questions were answered, not all the answers were complete, or at least I didn't think so. I highlighted the portions that were not addressed.
List of questions
1. I know that Texas Lottery offers the limited privacy option to it's jackpot winners.
Exactly what is the limited privacy option and what does it involve?
What information about jackpot winners due you divulge and to whom?
2. I know that Texas Lottery allows it's jackpot winners to claim the prize via a blind trust, LLC, or LLP with a federal employee identification number.
But does the name of the trust's owner go on any of your records?
3. I know that your legal department must review the trust, LLC, or LLP documents prior to allowing such an entity to claim.
How long does that process take?
Would the managing attorney fax it to you for your approval or brought in person?
What types of things are you looking for when determining if the documents meet your approval?
4. I know that the Texas Lottery suggests that lottery tickets be signed immediately after purchase, especially after winning a jackpot.
But what would happen if a winning individual signed his or her name on the back of the ticket then wants a trust to claim the winnings - how would that be handled?
Does the address have to written on the back as well?
If a trust claims the prize then whose address goes on the back?
If a trust claims the prize EXACTLY how would you like that signature to look?
Does the name/address have to be written in both places on the back or is one good enough?
5. Are jackpot winners required by Texas Lottery to have their picture taken?
Are the winners or the person claiming the prize watched under surveillance video anytime during the claiming process?
6. How much time would a jackpot prize winner be expected to spend at your office during the claiming process?
Must the winner call first to set up an appointment or can they arrive unannounced?
Do you notify any form of media that a winner has an appointment to claim?
Does the media hang around your office after a big win?
7. Do you provide a list to jackpot winners of referred attorneys, financial advisors, or accountants?
Answers by Michelle Byrd, Communications Specialist at the Texas State Lottery in Austin, Texas
1. Under the Texas Public Information Act, a winner's name, hometown, the amount of their prize, the date of the drawing, the date the prize is claimed, whether the ticket is a Quick Pick or Self Selection of numbers, a cash value option or 25-year annuity, and where the ticket was sold is generally considered public information. That's why it has been the practice of the Texas Lottery Commission since the start to provide this information to the news media immediately after validating a top-prize winner. We also provide it to the public when requested by phone or in writing. The state lottery act does, however, prohibit the release of the winner's street address and phone number unless the winner consents to the release of that information in writing.
2. If a prize is claimed through a trust, all members of the trust must be listed and are subject to Open Records.
3. Claimants make an appointment when claiming a jackpot prize. If they are claiming by trust or partnership, our Legal Division requests all documentation in advance from their attorney.
4. The trustee should sign the ticket. An example below is how the ticket should be signed: John Smith, trustee for ABC Trust. If John Smith had already signed the ticket, we would have him complete a Claimant Designation form.
5. We take a picture of the claimant for our records. Publicity is optional. We have cameras in and around our building.
6. The process usually takes about four hours and we prefer claimants make an appointment.
7. No, we do not make any recommendations.