There’s a big debate happening right now in the US about anonymity of lottery winners.
The lottery companies argue that it keeps everything transparent. It reassures people that nothing funny is going on if they can release details of the winners.
But I think we all know deep down that it’s about more than that.
There is a lot of publicity and free promotion that comes from parading big winners in front of the TV cameras. But is it really necessary to keep the game ‘honest’?
I’ll be the first to admit I love reading stories about lottery winners. Who doesn’t enjoy a bit of back story about Joe or Geraldine Average, with added dreams of what they plan to do next whilst they hold a giant cardboard check whilst blinded by the glare of publicity?
We love it.
But whilst most US States currently require winners to be identified, not all do, such as Delaware or Kansas. And the manner of identification varies too. Some States require names to be published – others require a full blown press conference.
Live in the ‘right’ State or country though, and you can choose to remain anonymous.
Do those lotteries that allow winners to stay secret have problems selling tickets? Is there a lack of trust?
No, not really. They seem to do just fine.
In actual fact, they still get plenty of winners to show off to the media anyway. Just by asking them if they mind going public!
Personally, I’d say no, and I recommend you do too – if you can.
There’s no guarantee your name won’t be discovered. Especially if you are a really big winner, such as the two winners who shared the recent $588 Million Powerball prize in the US.
If you’re that kind of winner, the press are going to hunt you down.
But if you’re a modest new millionaire – the kind that most lottery draws create every week – then you’re fairly boring by mega-lottery standards. So friends and neighbours are less likely to notice wild spending and ‘out’ you to the press hounds.
And even if you are ‘discovered’, as a more minor jackpot winner you may only have to endure a bit of short term attention.
Unless you manage to go broke through wild spending and crazy excess – because the media hounds love a good ‘lottery winner goes bad’ story.
Do you think winners should be allowed to stay secret? Or at least given the option to choose?
Or should every winner be require to go through the press conference process so we can feel safer that real winners do exist?