Is it Possible for Powerball Winners to Remain Anonymous?

Wednesday January 13th 2016

With the Powerball jackpot now up to $1.5 billion, breaking every lottery record going, any potential winner seems set to be firmly thrust into the limelight. With everyone from Maine to Washington set to know every detail about the lucky player’s life should they hit the jackpot tonight, could you even attempt to remain anonymous when everyone in the country wants to know your name and bank account information?

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Winning the lottery would be a dream come true for most people, but anonymity can be tricky, especially if you live in one of the states that doesn’t permit lottery winners to claim their winnings without publicity. Only Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina and Puerto Rico allow winners to keep their identities private, away from the glare of the media.

It is possible to remain a Powerball enigma even if you don’t have the good fortune to live in Baltimore or Cincinnati, but this route can prove complex. A popular method for previous winners is to claim though a blind trust. To make it as simple as possible, the trust holds on to the ticket and an entity collects the money on your behalf. Providing the trust, which is tied to you, has a name that contains none of your personal information, your anonymity will remain intact. Once the money is safely with the trust, a bank account can be opened in the name of the entity and direct the money flow through there. You, as the winner, would then be able to dictate how the prize is spent.

Alternatively, you could follow in the footsteps of B. Raymond Buxton. On February 19th 2014, Buxton’s life changed forever as he scooped a massive $425 million Powerball jackpot, but he wasn’t so eager to come forward to celebrate. Following a month and a half in the shadows, the Star Wars fan made himself known to Powerball officials on April Fools’ Day, arriving to collect his prize wearing a shirt with a picture of Yoda on it, underneath reading ‘Luck of the Jedi I have’. The Northern California retiree was so desperate to avoid any publicity that he covered his face with the oversized check during the publicity shoot.

Whether you are eager to embrace the exposure, or couldn't give two hoots about your 15 minutes of fame, a lottery win of this magnitude isn’t going to go unnoticed. Even if you do manage to avoid the prying eyes of the public, chances are you won’t be able to keep the news from your friends and family, who are more than likely going to notice when you suddenly started splashing the cash. Either way, you might not care; after all, you’d be a billionaire!

The record-breaking jackpot is desperate to be won, and you can play by purchasing your Powerball tickets online, or from authorized retailers ahead of tonight’s draw. Good luck!

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