Staying anonymous after a big lottery win has its benefits. You aren’t chased down by family members for a loan or at risk of being attacked by criminals who know that you won a massive amount of cash. Unfortunately, not every state in the US offers anonymity. There are only certain states in the country that allow you to keep your personal information a secret after a big win. Just recently Minnesota was added to the list of states that provide confidentiality.
Governor Tim Walz signed a new bill that allows big winners to stay anonymous. The new law is effective starting September 1 and applies to cash prizes larger than $10,000.
Details of the Legal Change
Senator Mary Kiffmeyer and Representative Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn sponsored the measure, pushing to see more privacy for big winners of Megamillions, Powerball, and other games. The bill sought to provide protection from a potential threat such as a robbery or even murder connected to a lottery win.
The bill was passed unanimously in the House and Senate. The governor just signed the measure into law late last week. With the legal change, around 12 US states now allow certain winners to remain anonymous after a big prize is earned.
In Minnesota, winners who earn a prize of $10,000 or more can keep their personal information private. The only way a name will be made public is if written consent is provided to the Minnesota Lottery to release the details. Second-chance drawing wins also apply to this new law.
One of the driving forces behind the passage of this measure was player protection. Often times, lottery winners find themselves victim to criminal attacks due to winning a large lottery prize. In the past, big lottery winners have been targeted and even killed after personal information was made public.
An example of the worst outcome of shared personal information can be seen in the case of Craigory Burch Jr. He won $400,000 at just 20 years of age in Georgia and his identity was not kept a secret. Just two months after the win, Burch’s home was subject to a robbery, with masked men killing him after demanding money.
Authorities called Burch a ‘pre-selected target’ and were able to arrest seven people and charge them in connection with his death.
Because of attacks like this, states such as Minnesota have changed the law so that big winners can keep their identities a secret. Other states offer anonymity as well including Delaware, North Dakota, Kansas, and Maryland, among others.