Winning the lottery is a dream come true for a handful of lucky people. After all, who wouldn't love to spend a few dollars and potentially be set up for life with millions of dollars?
Unfortunately, though, being a lottery winner has its cons. Among these is paying taxes on your lottery winnings. Additionally, people that have scored the jackpot may suddenly find their phones constantly ringing with relatives, friends, and even unknown people asking for loans. They may even start receiving communications from investment brokers and other financial experts that want to take them on as new clients. Furthermore, winners whose identity and newfound wealth are disclosed to the public leave them open to robberies, kidnappings, and even murders.
To protect these winners, some states have allowed big jackpot winners to remain anonymous. Only a small number of states allow winners of the Powerball or Mega Millions jackpots to remain anonymous.
The Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the Powerball, explicitly states that if you purchase a winning lottery ticket in the following eleven states, you have the legal right to remain anonymous:
All remaining states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands require lottery winners to publicly come forward to claim their cash prize.
As of 2019, several states are pushing for legislation that would allow lottery winners to remain anonymous if they so choose. Additionally, some states have alternative ways for lottery winners to protect their privacy, such as claiming the prize in the name of a trust or LLC.