Remaining Anonymous

Keeping your big win a secret
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Remaining Anonymous
  • Author:
    William Monroe
  • Published:

Winning a jackpot or large prize can catapult you into the spotlight.

Disclosure of your identity

Many lottery regulators and operators require, as a condition of receiving your lottery winnings, the publication of, at a minimum, your photo, name, and name of your city or town.

This requirement of the disclosure of your identity is usually spelled out in the forms you must fill out to claim your prize, and would be listed on the operator’s website under terms of play.

Some operators or jurisdictions may let you stay anonymous if your win is under a certain amount of money or for only a certain amount of time.

For larger wins, other information that may be required to be published are the prize details, the winner’s personal story of a hard life now made easier, the winner’s employer and occupation, and their marital status. The only information not subject to publication is the winner’s age and address.

Terms and conditions

In most cases when you purchase a lottery ticket, it is deemed that you agree to all the terms and conditions for the draw to participate in and win the lottery.

If you decline to have your personal information published, your winnings can be held from you until you agree to the public disclosure of your identity.

So if you win a few million dollars, distant Uncle Elmo, Fred the copy guy at work, and your worst enemy, are probably going to know you hit it big. You really have no choice.

Why share the information?

The reason given by lottery operators and regulators in the requirement to the publication of the winner’s name and photo supports the public need to know of transparency and integrity of the lottery operations.

They want the public to know that all prizes are legitimately won by ordinary people like themselves, but the rightful winner, not by the guy or girl who pulls the balls or the president of the lottery commission.

The disclosure of winners’ information helps to ensure and increase the public's trust in the true honesty and fairness of lottery draws.

Also, public disclosure of winners’ information helps to generate both an increased interest in the lottery and increased ticket sales. “Hey, if Mary two blocks over can win, I can too.”

Staying anonymous

Where a winner wants to stay anonymous and makes a claim that they need anonymity when claiming their prize, these requests are looked at on a case by case basis, and must conform to issues of the safety and security of the winner.

Harassment by family members or investment firms is not a good reason. Threat to life is.

So for instance, anonymity may be granted to a winner who is an undercover police officer in which the public disclosure would jeapoardize their life. Or a woman who is being stalked and threatened by a ex who has issued death threats.

There must a legitimate reason that, if it goes to court, a judge would side with.

All this anonymity with lottery wins is a direct result of our modern times. Since the dawn of the digital age, the issue of privacy has escalated to a point that now you can’t even call into your utility company without being asked a series of questions to verify your identity just to get your balance. If you can’t give the right information, you will not be helped as no company is going to break their countries privacy laws.

However, there are many groups and political entities that are now actively lobbying and proposing that privacy laws be changed to include lottery winners’ rights to remain anonymous.

Some jurisdictions are now allowing anonymity if requested, but most are sticking by the integrity and transparency reason.

How soon the transition to lottery winners ability to remain unknown while they collect their winnings is unknown. But with the intense push of privacy in all sectors of our lives, lottery winners’ privacy rights are being looked at and it might just be sooner than later that you will be able to claim that 100 million dollar super jackpot without you mom even knowing about it.

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