Arizona Becomes the Latest State to Allow Lottery Winners to Remain Anonymous

Thursday April 18th 2019

Arizona has become the latest state to allow lottery winners to remain anonymous, joining a growing number of state lotteries that believe that the privacy and safety of players must be protected.

The new legislation was signed by Governor Doug Ducey this week, and it states that any lottery winner of $100,000 or more can request that personal information, including their name, is not disclosed to the public. Current laws in Arizona allow winners to remain anonymous for 90 days only, after which their details can be released to anyone who files a Freedom of Information request.

Patrick Ptak, a spokesperson for Gov. Ducey, issued a statement saying that the new legislation will protect the privacy of winners in Arizona, while also safeguarding the integrity of the lottery. “Winning the lottery shouldn’t come at the expense of someone’s privacy or safety”, he said.

The Arizona Lottery took a different view when discussing the new legislation last week. Lottery spokesperson John Gilliland said, “The only way the public has an absolute guarantee of integrity as far as real people winning these prizes is to be able to know who wins these prizes.”

Which states allow winners to stay anonymous?

Arizona will become the third state this year to allow lottery winners to remain anonymous, after West Virginia and Virginia both passed similar legislation in recent months. Winners of WV Lottery prizes of more than $1 million can now stay anonymous, but must surrender five percent of the prize money to the state lottery fund. In Virginia, any winners of more than $10 million can also keep their identities secret, without any catch.

They joined nine others in allowing winners to remain anonymous: Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Wyoming. For many years prior to these latest developments, there wasn’t much movement on the issue, but legislators are becoming more aware of the potential difficulties that going public can cause lottery winners.

All the requests for money from strangers, the pressure of being in the public eye, and the scams that inevitably run off the back of the disclosure of a big lottery winner’s identity, lead many to believe that anonymity is now vital to protect players. Add to that the examples of big winners being targeted by crooks, and the case for anonymity is a strong one

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