Hawk Law Group | June 26, 2023 | Georgia Law
Winning the lottery may not be all that it is cracked up to be. The internet is full of stories of lottery winners who make bad financial decisions, experience terrible misfortune, or even become victims of violent attacks by others looking to steal their fortune.
According to a November 2022 news story from the State of Washington, approximately 70% of individuals who win the lottery lose their winnings within five years for one reason or another. Part of this is due, the story suggests, to friends and family requesting a share of the winnings once they learn you are now flush with millions.
You May Not Have Anonymity After Winning the Lottery
With all the tales of lottery winners who go on to lose it all, it is no wonder that you and others may desire to remain anonymous after winning a jackpot. But whether you can or not depends on the state in which you live.
A minority of states allow all lottery winners to remain anonymous if they so choose. These states include Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Wyoming.
For example, in Kansas and Maryland, you may choose to remain anonymous any time you win the lottery or allow state lottery authorities to release your name and certain other information. If you live in Mississippi, you must give such consent in writing. Otherwise, you never lose your anonymity.
In other states, you have no right to remain anonymous after winning the lottery. If you hit the jackpot in California, your full name will be publicized, as will the name and location of the business that sold the winning ticket. Because of this law in California, it can be relatively easy for people to locate you. It will, therefore, also be difficult to keep family and friends from knowing about your winnings.
Georgia Allows Some Winners to Remain Anonymous
Can you remain anonymous in GA lottery? Most states, though, take a middle-of-the-road approach and allow some lottery winners to remain anonymous. Georgia falls into this category. Under the Georgia Lottery for Education Act, winners of prizes of $250,000 or greater have the right to remain anonymous.
The right to remain anonymous in Georgia is based on where the winning ticket was purchased, not your state of residency. For example, suppose that you are visiting Georgia but live in neighboring Florida. While in Georgia, you purchase a lottery ticket and win a multi-million dollar jackpot. You can claim your prize while remaining anonymous, even though Florida’s law regarding anonymity differs from Georgia’s.
This right must be affirmatively exercised, however. You must make a written request to the Georgia Lottery Corporation asking that your name be kept anonymous. If you fail to do so when claiming your winnings, your name is allowed to be made public.
However, most state lottery games have prizes under $250,000. If you win a lower amount, you have no right to anonymity.
Anonymity May Bring Some Comfort to Georgia Lottery Winners
If you fear playing Powerball or other high-jackpot games, Georgia’s anonymity law may provide you with some comfort and encourage you to play. That’s because, if you do win big, there is no requirement that you be publicly identified in order to claim your prize.
If you do want to remain anonymous, all you have to do is submit a simple written request to the Georgia Lottery when you step forward to claim your winnings.
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