(NEXSTAR) — A record-setting Mega Millions jackpot is up for grabs — it’s an estimated $1.55 billion after no ticket matched the winning numbers Friday. If you’re lucky enough to beat the immense odds and win, there are a few things experts recommend you do immediately.
Among those is keeping your victory a secret for as long as possible. Depending on where you live (or more specifically, where you win the prize), you may be able to claim your prize anonymously. In many states, however, that isn’t the case.
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 record $1.08 billion Powerball ticket sold in July, disclosure laws require the California Lottery to share the winner’s full name and where they bought the ticket.
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, and Wisconsin, your name and city are made public.
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.
In some states, it depends on how much money you win. Those who win $250,000 or more in Florida are temporarily exempt from public disclosure for 90 days after claiming their prize, according to the state’s lottery.
Winners of $600 or more are kept confidential for 90 days in Arizona as well. If you win $100,000 or more, you can remain anonymous permanently but your city and county will be released.
In Minnesota, winners of more than $10,000 can opt to remain anonymous, but those winning $10,000 or less cannot.
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. Winners with security concerns can ask to have their name withheld.
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 kept 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. 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:
- Delaware: Winners are allowed to remain anonymous, regardless of prize size.
- 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.
- Missouri: Your name is only released if you give the lottery written consent
- Montana: Your name is not released, but where you live may be.
- New Jersey: Winners can choose to remain anonymous.
- North Dakota: Winners have the option to remain anonymous
- South Carolina: A winner in South Carolina can remain anonymous, despite recent efforts to change that.
- 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.
https://www.mystateline.com/news/can-a-mega-millions-jackpot-winner-remain-anonymous-not-in-these-states/ Can a Mega Millions jackpot winner remain anonymous in Illinois?