Lottery Privacy Information
With so many large lottery jackpots lately, it’s not hard for one’s mind to wander to thoughts of winning. One of the most prevalent questions about winning is “Can I remain anonymous?” The answer to that is a bit complicated, but in general, the answer is no. Each state has its own laws regarding anonymity when winning the lottery. Most cite both the United States Freedom of Information Act and the need to have an open list of winners to ensure fairness in the game.
The extent to how a lottery will use your information can vary greatly. There are a few in which a person can indeed remain anonymous. Others will only provide the winners name, city, county and the amount won. Others require the use of the winner’s likeness (picture or video) to be used and some require a press conference. In lotteries in which the winners likeness and/or press conference is required, the lottery winner authorizes the state to use the images in any way they see fit to promote the lottery.
LotteryHeadlines.com has done what no other site has done previously. We have extensively searched official websites for the correct information regarding information disclosure. This search included website Frequently Asked Questions, Claim Forms and in some cases actually emailing lottery commissions just to get the correct information for you. Below we list the information disclosure requirements of each lottery. (The information may be the exact phrase from the website or claim form from the state where that information was available).
Alabama – Does not have a lottery
Alaska – Does not have a lottery
Arizona – The Arizona Lottery is required to release the winner’s name, city of residence, game, and amount won upon request, so total anonymity is not possible.
Arkansas – Winner information is subject to disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A winner who receives a prize or prize payment from the ASL grants the ASL, its agents, officers, employees, and representatives the right to use, publish (in print or by means of the Internet) and reproduce the winner’s name, physical likeness, photograph, portraits, and statements made by the winner, and use audio sound clips and video or film footage of the winner for the purpose of press releases, advertising, and promoting the ASL.
California – California state law requires that the California State Lottery release the winner’s name and the name and location of the retailer where the winning ticket was purchased.
Colorado – In Colorado the name, city of residence and prize amount is public record and may be made available for public information.
Connecticut – The Lottery will publish and upon request, make available a winner’s name, city or town of residence, date and amount of win and the name/location of the retailer that sold the winning ticket. A winner’s home or street address and phone number are not published and will not be disclosed unless required by law. While most winners claim prizes using their individual names, periodically, winners do come forward using other legal entities (i.e., trusts, business partnership) to claim their prizes. In those instances, the Lottery will promote the win using that legal entity’s name.
Delaware – Winner can remain anonymous.
Florida – Florida Lottery winners cannot remain anonymous. Florida law mandates that the Florida Lottery provide the winner’s name, city of residence, game won, date won and amount won to any third party who requests the information.
Georgia – The Georgia Lottery Corp. is required, by statute, to comply with Georgia’s Open Records Act. Pursuant to the Georgia Open Records Act, a prize winner’s name, city, county, and state of residence, and the amount of the prize won shall be regarded as matters of public record.
Hawaii – Does not have a lottery.
Idaho – the Idaho Lottery may use the name, city and photograph of winners in any Idaho Lottery promotional campaign. Any exceptions to this rule must be submitted to the Idaho Lottery Director in writing for approval.
Indiana – The Hoosier Lottery may require that you participate in press conferences and other public relations activities.
Iowa – The Iowa Lottery Authority to use my name and likeness for any publicity purposes that it deems desirable.
Kansas – Winner can remain anonymous.
Kentucky – Kentucky Lottery can use name, image and voice for any reasonable publicity it considers desirable.
Louisiana – Under the Lottery’s statue, all prize payment records are open records, meaning that the public has a right to request the information. Depending upon the amount won and public or media interest in the win, winners may NOT be able to remain anonymous. The statute also allows the Lottery to use winners’ names and city of residence for publicity purposes such as news releases. The Lottery’s regular practice is not to use winner information in paid advertising or product promotion without the winner’s willingness to participate.
Maine – The Maine Lottery is required to release the name, town, date won, and amount won on lottery winnings. Claimants are not required to have their photo taken or participate in a press conference, but their name may be used in any future marketing plans the Maine Lottery might have. If the winner wants to remain completely anonymous, they are able form a trust or corporation.
Maryland – Winner can remain anonymous.
Massachusetts – The Mass State Lottery regulations state that a claimant’s name, city or town, image, amount of prize, claim date and game are public record. Therefore, photographs may be taken and used to publicize winnings.
Michigan – In 1988, the Michigan Legislature enacted Public Act 243 which gives winners of prizes greater than $10,000 the right to remain anonymous. However, Mega Millions and Powerball winners are exempt from this act. The names and cities of residence for all Michigan Lottery Mega Millions and Powerball winners (including the jackpot) are considered public record.
Minnesota – Winner’s name, city and prize amount is public information and may be released and/or published.
Mississippi – Does not have a lottery.
Missouri – Missouri state law requires the Lottery to release your name, city of residence and the amount of the prize.
Montana – The Montana Lottery is a state agency and therefore my name, city of residence and prize amount is public record and may be made available for public information.
Nebraska – The winner’s name, hometown, and prize amount are public information.
Nevada – Does not have a lottery.
New Hampshire – New Hampshire state law requires the winner’s name, town and amount won be available for public information. A winner’s street address and phone number is not considered public information.
New Jersey – The New Jersey Lottery operates in compliance with the disclosure requirements of both State law and the Lottery’s enabling legislation and rules and regulations. A winner’s name, town, and county can be made available either through press release, or through formal request for public records by any citizen or member of the media.
New Mexico – Certain information, such as the winner’s name, city in which the winner lives and the prize amount won, is subject to disclosure pursuant to the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act. The New Mexico Lottery Authority and its retailers and advertising agencies as well as the news media and their editors may use the winner’s name and photograph for reproduction in any medium they see fit for the purposes of advertising, display, exhibition or editorial use.
North Carolina – The North Carolina Education Lottery will consider a winner’s name, city/county, and the prize amount a matter of public record, unless the winner produces a valid protective order or Address Confidentiality Program authorization card.
North Dakota – Winner can remain anonymous.
Ohio – Winner can remain anonymous.
Oklahoma – All information including the winner’s name, city and amount won are subject to disclosure under the Oklahoma Open Records Act and public disclosure laws.
Oregon – In accordance with Oregon Public Records Law, once a prize has been validated, the winner’s name, city, state, zip code, game in which prize was won, date of game drawing, date prize was claimed, amount of prize won and the retail location/city in which winning ticket was sold are public information and are subject to disclosure. Oregon law provides that a person must claim a prize; winners cannot claim the prize through a limited liability company or a trust.
Pennsylvania – Certain winner information is public under the state Lottery Law and Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law. The Pennsylvania Lottery publishes the name of the winner(s), the city and county of residence. the name of game won and the date of win on its website in the Winners’ Circle.
Rhode Island – While the Rhode Island Lottery will do everything possible to keep a winner’s information private if requested by the winner, in Rhode Island and most other states, this information falls under the Freedom of Information Act, and a winner’s name and city or town of residency must be released upon request.
South Carolina – Information provided on the claim form may be subject to disclosure under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act.
South Dakota – South Dakota Lottery Commission rules authorize the Lottery to publish the name, city, state of residence, and prize amounts of instant scratch and lotto game winners as a matter of public record.
Tennessee – Tennessee law requires the Lottery to disclose the name, home state, and home town of winners if a request is received for such information.
Texas – The Texas Lottery Commission may use the winner’s photo, likeness and identity in all forms of media and publicity for the Texas Lottery Commission’s publicity and informational purposes.
Utah – Does not have a lottery.
U. S . Virgin Islands – On rare exceptions the Virgin Islands Lottery allows winners to remain completely anonymous but most often we will encourage winners to accept some publicity.
Vermont – The name, town and prize amount won is public information. When a name is placed on the claim form, that name becomes public information. If the prize is claimed by a trust, the name of the trust is placed on the claim form, and the name of the trust is public information.
Virginia – Virginia state law stipulates that a person must claim a prize; winners cannot claim a Virginia Lottery prize with a limited liability company or a trust, for example. In addition, the claimant’s name, hometown and prize are public record and are released to the media (usually for prizes $100,000 and up). Winners also agree to allow the Lottery use of their photo for reasonable publicity. News releases, often with photographs, are displayed on the Lottery`s Web site. For some jackpots and for some Scratcher prizes, game rules require the winner or winners to appear at a news conference held by the Lottery.
Washington – The Winner’s name, city and prize amount are subject to the public disclosure laws of the state of Washington.
Washington D. C. – In the District of Columbia, specific lottery winner information is public record. Winners claiming a prize of $2,500 or more are required to have their photograph taken in order to complete the claim process and receive their Lottery prize.
West Virginia – The West Virginia Lottery may use name and photograph for any reasonable publicity purposes it deems desirable.
Wisconsin – Wisconsin has an “open records law.” Most information that state government produces or controls is available to any organization or person requesting it. Only information “in the public’s interest” may be released by a government agency. The lottery, upon request, must release the name and city of the winner. Any other information about the winner will be released only with the winner’s consent. Likewise, it is the winner’s choice if they would like to speak to the media. It is not required, nor can it be prevented.
Wyoming – Does not have a lottery.