What State Lotteries Offer Anonymous Player Identity Protection?

Winning a major jackpot in a lottery can be a life-changing event.

But, a number of winners prefer to keep that moment to themselves as best they can.

Some states have made an effort to aid in that process by writing legislation that keeps lottery winner identities anonymous.

Most states with lotteries have the ability to protect a winner’s identity to some extent. However, only about half can guard against certain information acts.

If you are a big winner in one of the multistate lottery draw games, or strike it big on an in-state retail game, it’s good to know what your options are to protect your identity.

Here’s a little rundown of what each state has to offer when it comes to anonymity.

State lotteries providing identity security

Multiple states already have laws that allow anonymous lottery winners to some degree.

In multistate draw games like Powerball and Mega Millions, you will have to provide identification to claim your prize.

Then, it is up to the states to determine the level of anonymity. Each state has its own policy as to how it is handled.

If you aren’t sure about the policy in your state, visit the FAQs page of your state lottery. There, it answers any and all questions, including detailed information on what rights you have to protect your identity.

To sum up a portion of the details, here’s a look at what states offer protection for their winners:

States that will protect identity for any prize

  • Delaware
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • North Dakota
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Wyoming

States that will protect over a certain prize limit

  • Arizona – over $100,000
  • Arkansas – over $500,000*
  • Florida – over $250,000**
  • Georgia – over $250,000
  • Illinois – over $250,000
  • Michigan – over $10,000***
  • Minnesota – over $10,000
  • Texas – over $1 million
  • Virginia – over $10 million
  • West Virginia – over $1 million

*3-year limitation on anonymity

**90-day limitation on anonymity

***Only for in-state games

What states can’t guarantee safeguards for lottery winners?

There are a lot of states that can’t guarantee your name and information won’t be released to the public. That list includes:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.
  • Wisconsin

It should be noted that in some cases, these states can’t offer protection due to state information acts. Winners may be able to claim the prize anonymously, but their information would still be available if the public or media requests it privately.

Some of these states allow you to claim your prize through a trust or LLC that can let you hide your name.

Others also have exemptions written in for victims of stalking or domestic violence, allowing them to remain anonymous should they win.

In the case of Colorado, it is required to release your first name and last initial, hometown, amount you won, and the game you played. The information will be posted on its lottery website and be available to the media upon request. A photo is not required to be taken.

More states trying to add lottery anonymity laws

The discussion of lottery winners being able to remain anonymous has grown over the years.

More and more states are looking into the matter.

Michigan introduced legislation last year that would allow anonymity for multistate draw game winners in the state. House Bill 4048 is still being worked through the legislative process.

New York has seen Senate Bill 1807 make its way through the Senate and now pass on to the Assembly. However, NY adjourned its legislative session without advancing it further. The bill requires the state to keep lottery winners anonymous unless the winner gives their consent.

Massachusetts is in the same boat. It introduced Senate Bill 194 to protect consumer privacy. It would prevent lottery winners from disclosing information without their consent. The bill is currently part of a study order.

Kentucky debuted House Bill 80 this year. It would allow lottery prize winners of $1 million or more the option to have their identity withheld from the public for up to one year. The bill unanimously passed in the House and is working its way through the Senate.

 

Photo by LightField Studios via Shutterstock

About the Author

Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis

Lead Writer
A member of Catena Media since 2020, Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer at PlayiLottery, where he handles coverage of the online and retail lottery industry in the US. He previously spearheaded news content at PlayMichigan, where he covered one of the most prominent online lottery industries in the US — among the many other aspects of Michigan's sprawling iGaming market. You can email him at [email protected].
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