Lottery Winner's Anonymous

No, not some type of 12-step meeting where a guy gets up and says, "Hi, I'm Bill and I'm a lottery winner".

According to the AP and the Arizona Republic, lottery winners in Arizona would be able to keep their anonymity under a bill approved Wednesday following a heated hearing in a state Senate committee that had Democrat arguing it would diminish public accountability against Republican sponsors. The bill was prompted by the public release of an Arizona man's name after he won half of a $587.5 million Powerball jackpot late last year. Matthew Good's name was released under Arizona public records laws after he collected the $192 million cash option payout. He's never spoken publicly about the lottery win. Bill sponsor State Representative John Kavanagh said players shouldn't face safety risks just because they're lucky enough to win big.

The bill quickly passed the House but ran into opposition in a Senate committee Wednesday. "I don't understand why a lottery winner would be protected and we wouldn't protect other people in similar circumstances," Sen. Bob Worsley asked, mentioning high income executives as an example. But Kavanagh said there's a big difference, saying lottery winners are generally private people who don't seek the limelight. Kavanagh said lottery winner Good approached him in Fountain Hills after the bill passed a House committee last month and thanked him for carrying the bill. "He also said he hasn't had a good night's rest since he won the money because he was so fearful," Kavanagh told the committee.

Opponents stated "It can't be a success without accountability. "There can be no transparency and accountability if the names of the winners are confidential."
Rep. Kavanagh said there's plenty of checks and balances in the Lottery system without outing big winners. "Ultimately what's we're balancing here is the individual right to privacy and the public's right to know," Kavanagh said. But he said in this case there's no reason to release the names.

Most states require winners' names to be disclosed in some way. Of 44 states participating in Powerball and 33 in Mega-Millions, only Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota and Ohio allow blanket anonymity. Some states require an appearance at a press conference. Others, including Arizona, don't require winners to appear in public, but their names can be obtained through public records laws.

The bill isn't opposed by the Arizona Lottery, but other lotteries argue they need the publicity to help sell tickets and that releasing winners' names lets the public know the games aren't fixed. The bill passed committee on a 5-2 vote and now goes to the full Arizona Senate for consideration.
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The Powerball jackpot rolled last night pushing next Saturday's prize over $100 million. Tomorrow's Mega Millions jackpot is considerably smaller:

$103,000,000 est
Cash Option:$64,200,000

$19,000,000 est
Cash Option:$14,100,000