Will Texas Allow Lottery Winners to Stay Anonymous?Thursday April 6th 2017
A bill that would allow big lottery winners in Texas to remain anonymous has been debated by the state’s House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee. If passed, House Bill 59 would allow residents of the Lone Star state to join those who reside in six other jurisdictions in choosing whether to stay private in the event of a large Powerball, Mega Millions or Lotto Texas win.
Which States Allow Lottery Winners to Stay Anonymous?
Lottery players in South Carolina, Ohio, North Dakota, Maryland, Kansas and Delaware are the only participants in the US currently allowed to claim their prizes anonymously. However, Texans can form trusts and allow a trustee to receive the funds on their behalf, which often allows them privacy, although it is not guaranteed. Indiana has a similar ruling, which a recent Powerball winner from Lafayette took advantage of when picking up his $435.3 million jackpot from February 22nd.
Arguments for Allowing Lottery Winners to Stay Anonymous
Democrat Representative Ryan Guillen is the politician behind the current bill and he says he was inspired to file it after a conversation with a constituent who was concerned that the publicity surrounding any potential big lottery win might make her a target for criminals. "Living on the border, and with these announcements often broadcast for all to see, she's concerned that she can be abducted, taken to Mexico, and held for ransom within minutes,” he told The Texas Tribune.
Guillen also noted that winners often find themselves swamped by demands from family and friends and that allowing them anonymity would “provide some much needed peace and quiet to (their) lives.”
Arguments Against Allowing Lottery Winners to Stay Anonymous
Those opposed to House Bill 59 say that making winners’ names public is vital for proving that money spent by players really does go to paying out the life-changing prizes advertised. It is feared that without the names, place of residence and prize value being publicized, as is currently required of the Texas Lottery Commission, the integrity of the games would be hit and fewer people would play. The Texas Lottery has distributed more than $26 billion in proceeds from ticket sales to worthy causes across the state since its creation, and those who are against the bill predict these funds would be hit by fewer people playing games if they suspected they were not transparent.
What Would House Bill 59 Include?
If it were to become law, House Bill 59 would give winners of $1 million or more the chance to stop their name being made public. However, they would not be allowed to escape bills for unpaid child support, which are withheld from big wins, nor would they be able to avoid their income tax obligations.
The proposal is currently pending in committee and Lottery.net will bring you updates on the outcome when details emerge.