Imagine winning a huge lottery jackpot! Overnight you achieve a celebrity status that might not be in your best interest. Story-seeking journalists, long-lost family members, and representatives of unknown charities suddenly show up on your doorstep, all of them seeking to share your good fortune. Quite obviously, one of the first questions you might ask when buying your tickets is: "If I win the lottery do I have to go public?"
It should be noted right from the start that some lotteries require jackpot winners to claim their prize publicly in accordance with the laws of the country or state where the tickets were purchased. In order to claim your prize, the very first thing you will need to do is sign the back of your winning ticket. Other lotteries, however, allow jackpot winners to claim their prize anonymously.
Here at theLotter, regardless of anonymity laws, the full name and image of a winner will not be used on our website or in our promotions unless permission has been granted.
Exceptions are made by lotteries in special circumstances revolving personal safety and security. Such was the case 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 concerns. In respect for his privacy, theLotter has blurred his image and referred to him only by his initials on our website, as has been the case with other big winners.
In January 2016, at the time of the record $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot, a number of opinion polls asked the public what they would do if they won such a huge amount of money. Many responded by saying, "Keep it a secret."
Keeping a jackpot win a secret is only possible in six American states - Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and South Carolina. The other 38 states where Powerball tickets are sold, as well as in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, require lottery winners to come forward publicly.
Many lotteries require that basic information about winners be released to the public, including name, city, and the amount won for all prizes, not only the jackpots. Why is this so? The lotteries are striving for transparency in their operations. They want the public to know that ordinary people can, and do, win lottery prizes, even incredible jackpot prizes worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Stories of ordinary people winning jackpot prizes are hugely beneficial to lotteries, as such publicity can generate huge interest and increase ticket sales.
Yes, of course there are! More than 35 lotteries available on theLotter allow jackpot winners to claim their prize anonymously. Among them are EuroJackpot, EuroMillions, SuperEnalotto, La Primitiva and the UK Lotto. A full list of these lotteries can be found here.
The winning ticket of a $487 million US Powerball jackpot in July 2016 was purchased in New Hampshire. According to lottery officials, the winner, who chose to remain anonymous, claimed the $487 million prize through the Robin Egg 2016 Nominee Trust facilitated by a local law firm.
"While we certainly wish we could have met our Powerball winners in person, we appreciate and respect that they have chosen to try to live as normal a life as possible," stated Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.
"There are strategies and legal entities you can create that will help you remain more private if you win the lottery," says Robert Pagliarini, author of The Sudden Wealth Solution: 12 Principles to Transform Sudden Wealth into Lasting Wealth. One of them is called a "blind trust." In such a case, "blind" refers to the public which is unable to see the identity of the winner of a lottery prize. As these issues are quite complicated, it would be wise to consult a lawyer to review your legal options before you claim a huge jackpot prize.
Lottery winners have said that it is nearly impossible to keep their lottery wins a secret.
"We would have preferred to stay anonymous, but we recognised it wasn't a possibility," said Christine Weir, who along with her husband won a £161million EuroMillions jackpot in July 2011. "We wouldn't have been able to enjoy the experience if we had constructed lies to tell our nearest and dearest," she said, quoted in The Independent.
Another British lottery winner - Julie Jeffrey who won £1 million in 2002 - told Yahoo! News that she "went public for the same reason the majority of people do - there is nowhere to hide."
There are lotteries which insist you go public when you claim your winnings and there are lotteries which allow you to retain your privacy. The lottery you play will determine how to answer your question: "If I win the lottery do I have to go public?"
The bottom line is that after you win a lottery prize, you should consider all options carefully and only then make your decision what to do.