Content of the material
- The Controversy Over Anonymity
- Court Rules Jackpot Winner To Remain Anonymous
- Closing $ense
- Can You Stay Anonymous After Winning the Lottery in America?
- Top Reasons to Remain Anonymous After Winning the Lottery
- Are There Benefits in Going Public?
- 3 Stories of Lottery Winners Who Regret Going Public
- 1. “Wild” Willie Seeley – $3.8 Million
- 2. Andrew “Jack” Whitacker – $315 Million
- 3. Abraham Shakespeare – $30 Million
- Winning The Lottery Anonymously At theLotter Oregon
- Which States Allow You to Stay Anonymous?
- What if I Fall Outside of These Limits?
- Related Articles
The Controversy Over Anonymity
There are pros and cons to allowing lottery winners to remain anonymous. While some jackpot winners might enjoy being in the spotlight for a little while, others have experienced negative consequences. These have included broken relationships with friends or family members who wanted a share of the money, campouts around their house by journalists hoping for a story, and safety concerns.
Many of the lottery curse victims suffered from the fame that came with their jackpot win, being robbed or even murdered for their money. Other winners experienced bomb threats or frivolous lawsuits from people hoping to profit from a settlement.
On the other hand, publishing the winners’ names is good for the entire lottery system. It makes it easier to uncover scams, for example, like one involving Multi-State Lottery Association computer programmer Eddie Tipton. Tipton snuck code into the program that’s supposed to randomly draw winners, making it possible for him to predict the numbers that would be drawn. He used this hack to win several lottery prizes, but was caught when he bought a winning ticket in his own name. When his identity was revealed, the connection to his work became obvious and the scam was uncovered. If he could have cashed the ticket anonymously, he might have gotten away with stealing millions and millions of lottery dollars.
Revealing the lottery winners’ names also builds trust and excitement, which drives ticket sales. In 2013, New Jersey governor Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have let lottery winners remain anonymous for a year, despite overwhelming bipartisan support for it, saying: “This bill 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.”
Court Rules Jackpot Winner To Remain Anonymous
When another New Hampshire woman was the sole winner of a $560 million Powerball jackpot in January 2018, she quickly signed the back of her winning ticket. At the time she did not know that state law required her identity to be made public. If the jackpot winner had known, she would have signed the ticket with the name of a legal trust, thereby ensuring her anonymity.
The woman filed a lawsuit asking to retain her privacy. Her request stated: “She is a long-time resident of New Hampshire and is an engaged community member. She wishes to continue this work and the freedom to walk into a grocery store or attend public events without being known or targeted as the winner of a half-billion dollars.”
In March 2018, a New Hampshire judge ruled that the winner would be able to receive her prize money while keeping her name withheld from the public. The judge stated that if the winner’s “identity be revealed, she will be subject to an alarming amount of harassment, solicitation and unwanted communications.”
The winner, the judge ruled, “had met her burden of showing that her privacy interest in the nondisclosure of her name outweighs the public interest in the disclosure of her name.”
Winning the lottery may be the dream of a lifetime, but it could quickly turn into a nightmare. For this reason, many winners opt-out of letting hundreds of millions of people know about their good fortune.
The biggest single jackpot winner in U.S. history was a South Carolina woman who won 1.5 billion in the October 23, 2018 Mega Millions drawing. In a statement by her lawyer Jason Kurland, she chose to keep her identity a secret because she wanted to “live a life of relative normalcy, free of fear”. Ironically, she was one of the people swindled by the “Lottery Lawyer”.
Everyone knows the story of the late Jack Whittaker, a successful businessman who won the biggest Powerball jackpot at the time at $314 million in 2002. The high-profile lottery winner started a charitable foundation for needy families and said he wanted to help people. Instead, what happened was people lurked around places he frequented, called his home, and rang his doorbell asking for money. He had to hire private security for his family. He had his car broken into multiple times and hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen. One of his business partners was robbed at gunpoint.
You wouldn’t walk into a bar and announce you have a briefcase full of money unless you want to attract the wrong type of attention. Letting the entire world know you won the lottery is just about the same thing.
What would you do if you won the lottery? Would you keep it quiet? How would you avoid unwanted publicity? Are there any states that allow anonymity not mentioned in this article?
Can You Stay Anonymous After Winning the Lottery in America?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions in the lottery world. When people buy their tickets to the US Powerball or the Mega Millions, they often wonder if taking the picture with the large cheque is mandatory or merely an option for those willing to become public figures. As for the answer, it depends on the specific laws in the American state offering the lottery.
So, if you don’t want your name on the front page of every newspaper in the US, there are only six states where you should play: Delaware, Kansas, North Dakota, Maryland, South Carolina, and Ohio. These are the only American states that give lottery winners the option to remain anonymous. Whether or not the New Hampshire case is precedent enough for some changes to be made in this regard remains to be seen, but at the moment, outside these six states, lottery winners must still make their identities public if they win the lottery.
There are also four states where lottery winners can collect their winnings by setting up anonymous trusts. These are Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont, and they allow attorneys representing anonymous trusts to collect lottery prizes. In addition, Illinois and Oregon have made some exceptions to making the identity of lottery winners public, provided that they were able to demonstrate that revealing their names could prove to be harmful to them.
Top Reasons to Remain Anonymous After Winning the Lottery
The benefits of remaining anonymous after winning the lottery might not be clear to everyone. Perhaps, you want more reasons to inspire you enough to use a trust in a country or state where you cannot remain anonymous. In any of those cases, consider the following motivations:
- Safety: Malicious people might grow an interest in putting their hands on your hard-to-win prize. If they do not know who won the jackpot, there is nothing they can do.
- Privacy: Sometimes, it is just better not to have everyone talking about your life and prize.
- Requests: Some friends and relatives might feel entitled to request your help. Regardless of how well-intended they may be, there are stories of winners who ran out of money when they could not say “no” to those people.
- Well–being: Without having to deal with too much attention and all the problems listed above, you will be able to enjoy your prize without stress.
Are There Benefits in Going Public?
Some winners have already admitted that it is almost impossible to keep the prize in full secrecy as time goes by. In fact, it is truly difficult to enjoy the money you have won if you do not want everyone to know. Therefore, the obvious benefit of going public or at least not trying to hide your prize is being able to fully use the money without worrying about lifting suspicion.
Of course, it is still possible to move far away and make up a story on how that money was generated. However, that is not something every winner is willing to do. Also, minor prizes are usually no big deal to admit, and people usually save it, pay bills, or travel for a while using that money.
3 Stories of Lottery Winners Who Regret Going Public
1. “Wild” Willie Seeley – $3.8 Million
Willie was the winner of a $3.8 million Powerball prize back in 2013 and defined his time post-winning as an endless curse. Once he was made known, the media would not leave him alone, and relatives that he had never heard of started to ask for money. He even said to the press that he wished he had never won that prize.
2. Andrew “Jack” Whitacker – $315 Million
Whitacker is another unhappy Powerball winner who saw his life turn upside down after the prize of hundreds of millions of dollars. If he were able to go back in time, he would have torn up the ticket that resulted in a robbery and losing a close family member to drugs. He lost himself with that money, too, spending on alcohol, gambling, and strip clubs.
3. Abraham Shakespeare – $30 Million
Shakespeare had a problem from the moment he claimed his lump-sum payment of $17 million in 2006. The co-worker that owed him money bought the ticket for him and wanted a share. Shakespeare won that case but was later murdered by Dorice Moore, a friend who misled him to take his money and is now in jail.
Winning The Lottery Anonymously At theLotter Oregon
At theLotter Oregon, we ensure that buying lottery tickets online is safe and the privacy of our players is respected. When you win the lottery, your full name and/or image will not be used in our promotions and website unless permission has been granted. That said, our lottery winners are subject to the rules and regulations of the countries/states where their winning tickets were purchased. If a player wishes to remain anonymous for security reasons, they may be able to get an exemption from the lottery’s disclosure requirements.
An interesting exception was made when our player from Baghdad won the $6.4 million Oregon Megabucks jackpot in August 2015. The Oregon Lottery allowed the Iraqi man to claim his prize anonymously due to safety and security concerns. In respect for his privacy, theLotter Oregon has blurred his image and referred to him only by his initials on our website, as has been the case with other big winners.
Which States Allow You to Stay Anonymous?
Some states allow you to remain anonymous, whatever the amount you win. In others, you can keep your information private only in certain situations.
What if I Fall Outside of These Limits?
Where you have no or limited rights to anonymity, taking your time to get the right advice before claiming is crucial.
It’s easy, with the excitement of winning a large amount of money, to get carried away. You may think you have no choice but to agree to the lottery’s requests for photos and press conferences.
You may even feel like you owe it to the lottery to do so for giving you this incredible windfall. However, resist the impulse because, as the saying goes, we do in haste what we repent at leisure.
Take a step back and get independent advice. There may still be things that you can do to keep your details private.
So, let’s consider the options for staying anonymous if none of the above apply to you.
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