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Can I stay anonymous if I win the record Mega Millions jackpot?

Eighteen states grant anonymity to lottery winners, but many other states provide options for those seeking to remain out of the spotlight.
Can I stay anonymous if I win the record Mega Millions jackpot?
Posted at 1:40 PM, Aug 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-08 17:46:03-04

Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing is set to be a record $1.58 billion, which would mark the largest drawing in the lottery's history. 

While the drawing is certainly life-changing, depending on where you live, your friends and family don't have to know. Eighteen states allow winners of large lotteries to stay fully anonymous, shielding winners from the attention claiming such a prize can draw. 

The right to remain anonymous is generally where the prize is claimed, not the home state of the winner.

The following states allow winners of multi-million-dollar lotteries to remain anonymous:

Arizona

Arkansas

Delaware

Georgia

Illinois

Kansas

Maryland

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

New Jersey

North Dakota

Ohio

Texas

Virginia (only for prizes exceeding $10 million)

West Virginia

Wyoming

SEE MORE: Mega Millions jackpot soars to record $1.55 billion

Some states allow winners to stay partially anonymous. For instance, Colorado only releases the first name and first letter of the last name of winners. 

Florida says winners' identities will only be withheld for up to 90 days after the prize is claimed. North Carolina will withhold identities if the winner produces a valid protective order or Address Confidentiality Program authorization card.

In states that don't grant anonymity, the state lottery is subject to open records laws, meaning anyone can request the identity of lottery winners. 

Some states say releasing the identities of winners gives the public confidence drawings are being held fairly. 

"Knowing who is winning Lottery prizes promotes the public’s confidence in the Lottery as a fair and honest enterprise," the New Mexico Lottery said.

"Only certain claimant information can be released," the Pennsylvania Lottery said. "This assures the public that Lottery winners are real people and that the Lottery operates with integrity and transparency."

SEE MORE: Why are there so many massive Powerball, Mega Millions jackpots?

South Carolina was among the states where winners could stay anonymous, but the Associated Press reported that the lottery lost a public records court battle in 2021. 

A number of states where identities are disclosed have legislation under consideration that would stop the disclosure of winners.

Although 27 states and Washington, D.C., cannot promise anonymity for lottery winners, there are ways to help shield your identity. State Farm recommends winners create a blind trust, which can help keep your name out of the spotlight. 

Earlier this year, a $1.348 billion jackpot was claimed in Maine. While Maine is not among the states that grants anonymity, the jackpot was claimed by LaKoma Island Investments, LLC. 

"The winner is thoughtfully considering the best uses of the life-changing prize," Mega Millions said in a press release. 

Mega Millions and Powerball are not played in five states: Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah.

@scrippsnews Tuesday night’s Mega Millions jackpot is the largest on record at $1.58 billion. Did you know only 18 states allow winners to keep their name anonymous? Read the full list on our website. #lottery #money ♬ original sound - Scripps News


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