Mega Millions: Can a jackpot winner remain anonymous? Not in these states
(NEXSTAR) – Yet another record-setting lottery jackpot is upon us. This time, it’s Mega Millions. Just a few months ago, it was Powerball.
If you’re lucky enough to land a big prize while playing Mega Millions, you may be wondering if you can claim your winnings anonymously. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case in some states.
According to Mega Millions, it all comes down to your state’s public disclosure laws. Some are required to publicly identify winners while others are not.
For example, in California, where a winner has yet to come forward to claim a Powerball ticket worth $2.04 billion sold in November, disclosure laws require the California Lottery to share the winner’s full name and where they bought the ticket.
In Missouri, your name is only released if you give the state lottery written consent.
In Idaho, information like your name, the town in which you live, where you bought the ticket, and how much you won are “all a matter of public record,” the state’s lottery explains in its winner’s guide. The Iowa Lottery says it is impossible for winners to remain anonymous when claiming prizes.
Winners in Florida can’t remain anonymous either. Those who win $250,000 or more are temporarily exempt from public disclosure for 90 days after claiming their prize, according to the state’s lottery.
If you win the lottery in Colorado, your first name and the first letter of your last name are listed on the state lottery’s website. In New York, South Dakota, Vermont, Wisconsin, your name and city are made public.
For Arizona lottery winners, it depends on the size of your winnings. According to the Arizona Lottery, the names of those who win $600 or more are confidential for 90 days after the prize has been awarded and are not public information during that time. If you win $100,000 or more, your name can remain confidential permanently. The city and county in which you live, however, is not confidential.
The rules are similar in New Mexico where, according to the state’s lottery, the name, city of residence, game played, and prize amount of anyone winning $10,000 or more will be listed on the agency’s website. In Minnesota, winners of more than $10,000 can opt to remain anonymous, but those winning $10,000 or less cannot.
Winners of state-level games in Michigan who score more than $10,000 are granted anonymity, but for multi-state games like Mega Millions, the state lottery defers to the game’s rules, which say winners can be named publicly.
In Illinois, winners of $250,000 or more can request to have their name and hometown confidential. Having your name released is optional in Kentucky, according to the Lexington Herald Leader, but can be obtained through an open records request. The name, home state, and hometown of winners in Tennessee can also be obtained with a records request.
Because lottery prize payments are open records, meaning they can be requested by the public, lottery winners “may NOT be able to remain anonymous” in Louisiana, the state’s lottery explains.
Winners of $1 million or more can choose to remain anonymous in Texas and West Virginia, according to respective lottery officials. In Virginia, that threshold is $10 million. North Dakota lottery winners also have the option to remain anonymous, regardless of the size of their prize.
In North Carolina, winners of more than $600 don’t retain their anonymity, according to Nexstar’s WAVY.
Here’s where you can remain anonymous:
- Kansas: Winners in Kansas can request to remain anonymous.
- Maryland: In most cases, winners can remain anonymous.
- Mississippi: The state lottery won’t identify a winner unless they have given written consent.
- Montana: Your name is not released, but where you live may be.
- New Jersey: Winners can choose to remain anonymous.
- South Carolina
- Wyoming: Winners can remain anonymous or give permission to the state’s lottery to share some information.
If you win any lottery games, be sure to check with your jurisdiction’s lottery office to determine whether you can remain anonymous.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Suggest a Correction