Becoming a winner of $769 million might seem like the realization of a beautiful dream. However, for a lottery winner in America, this is not the case, as she is struggling to preserve her privacy.
The woman from New Hampshire only referred to as Jane Doe, imagined her bank account increasing to nine digits; but on condition that she accepts that her name is publicized.
She is requesting a judge to allow her to retain the winnings and keep her name secret since she wishes to live away from the ‘publicity and bad luck that has many times been experienced by other lottery winners.’
According to the law, New Zealand Lotto winners can opt to remain unidentified, and many of them do this. The first Lotto draw took place more than thirty years back, and from then, 87 individuals have become winners of at least $5 million. Most of them have remained out of the public scrutiny.
A 2017 study of Lotto winners indicates that majority just disclose to their partner and close family about their fortune while 5% keep it a secret.
Emilia Mazur, a Lotto spokeswoman, remarked that she had been working at Lotto for six years and during that period, just a few winners had opted to reveal their winnings to the public.
‘Most of them opt to maintain secrecy; I think 99.5%.’
Some, such as Trevor Cooper, a famous Lotto winner enjoyed the winnings publicly.
When Cooper won $27 million, he was 37 and was employed in Huntly as a checkout operator.
After his win, Cooper said, ‘everything will remain the same. In the end, my account balance is a telephone number; however, I adore my work.’
Things changed: Cooper purchased a minimum of five houses and a fleet of vehicles. However, it was said that he fell out with some members of his family and strangers harassed him for money.
In 2009, a family syndicate from Masterton publicly declared their $3.6 m wins.
After winning, they had their pictures taken but opted to keep their last names secret.
Siobhan, one of the members of the syndicate, stated that she anticipated the family to be pestered by individuals whose intention was to make them feel guilty about the cash.
According to the family, ‘Rumors about their win spread fast through their tiny town, and they resolved to have a press conference to ‘deal with it once and for all.’
‘After this, we hope we can move on with our lives.’
Mazur stated that Lotto did not intend to present requirements for winners to reveal themselves.
If winners do not want to come forward, they had the support from Lotto, ‘to do the best they can,’ by avoiding to submit any identification data in press releases.
She revealed that it was ‘difficult to know’ whether Lotto would remain as famous if the regulations changed and winners needed to show their locations and names.
‘I believe it would still give people much joy to become $30 million winners.’
Winners of Lotto and Powerball in other areas can also choose to remain completely anonymous.
The website of Oz Lotteries encourages winners to maintain their privacy, and like here, most of them do.
‘It is a very typical response to wish to rejoice because of an occurrence like this which changes lives; but a lot of winners opt for secrecy instead of being famous for a short time to keep the unnecessary focus away from fraudsters, phony friends, and distant relatives.
Make an effort to reveal the news to close ones, since the ones who are closest to you are not likely to take advantage of your latest windfall.
‘Important news such as this leaks easily and can spread fast. The media might not essentially transmit it, but in the end, you may still be recognized.’
Just six states, Kansas, Delaware, North Dakota, Maryland, South Carolina and Ohio permit lottery winners to keep their identity secret. If you win big in any other state, the law requires that the names of winners be made public. Also, it is a requirement for the majority to issue compulsory press conferences.
In some states, prizes can be granted to a trustee and a trust, usually, a lawyer who can pick the cheque without revealing the name of the person.
In others, such as Oregon and Illinois, winners can maintain their secrecy if they can confirm that they are likely to be in danger. In the situation of Jane Doe, officials state that the lottery’s reputation is determined by public disclosure of the winners to shield against scam and malfeasance.
However, she wishes for the ‘liberty of visiting a grocery shop or attending public functions without being recognized or pointed out as a half-billion dollars winner.’
Mavis Wanczyk signed away that liberty in 2016 as she obtained her US$480M check. The day after, a police vehicle was parked in her driveway, while media people and total strangers flocked her neighborhood, enquiring from people where she resided.
Europe and United Kingdom
The United Kingdom law dictates that lottery players can choose partial publicity, permitting specifics such as their occupation, age, and overall location to be broadcast.
However, if players choose to remain completely anonymous, the National Lottery avoids revealing even the region where the winning ticket was won.
Each of the Lottery players of EuroMillions all through the nine European nations retains the right to remain completely anonymous if they so wish.
In July 2011 when Colin and Christine Weir become winners of £185m (NZD$314m), the most significant lottery jackpot in Britain, they disclosed their winnings to the public, stating they did not believe they could keep their great windfall to themselves, without being dishonest to family and friends.
Immediately after this, it was said that hundreds of strangers showered them with letters, pleading for cash and they took a trip to Spain with their kids to keep off from the attention.