No Anonymous Wins for New York Players
If you win a lotto jackpot over in the US state of New Jersey, it is guaranteed to be something of a public affair.
Should you win hundreds of millions of dollars, the state’s lottery commission has legal jurisdiction to publicize your name, the town you live in, and even the county you live in through a press release. This is stated in the operator’s rules for playing, which essentially means that you simply cannot claim a prize anonymously.
Of course, when the New York state legislature green-lighted a bill this June that would let players claim any wins over $5,000 without having their personal details revealed, residents of New Jersey were immediately excited. Many began to gear up to drive across the George Washington Bridge into their neighboring state to try and win some cash undercover.
NY, NJ Governors Explain the Move
Sadly, however, this was not meant to be. The Garden State’s hopes were shredded when New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed the bill in question, leveling the playing field and giving NY’s lottery the same jurisdiction that NJ’s operator has. Cuomo has argued that publicly identifying prizewinners helps to ‘keep the state accountable’.
The governor’s veto and opinion is similar to that of New Jersey Lottery Commission acting director James Carey. In the past, Carey has called the operator an ‘arm of the State of New Jersey’, saying that as it is dealing with public money, the public has the right to know who will be getting their hands on it.
One Way Left to Stay Anonymous
In his statement regarding the veto, NY’s Cuomo noted that there is now just one way that lottery winners can keep their names and residential regions private under current laws. This, he said, would be to establish a limited liability company that could ‘claim’ the prize on their behalf, instead of them doing it in person.
In the state of New Jersey, the local lotto commission will then pay out the jackpot to your newly established company. However, your name will still be released to the public, and you will also be asked to attend a very publicized press conference. Essentially, if you win big, there’s no way around it; almost everyone will know your name within a few weeks.
Many winners try to avoid having their personal information released in an attempt to keep the many desperate charities, fraudulent companies, and criminals who hound newly-made millionaires at bay. However, some have seen NY’s decision as an opportunity to do good as well, as if winners can be contacted by charities and NGO organizations, perhaps they will be more inclined to open their hearts and share their fortunes with those in need.
In the meantime, however, New Jersey residents are notably disappointed that their opportunity to claim anonymous wins in a neighboring state has been nixed.