Can Powerball, Mega Millions jackpot winners stay anonymous? Not in these states

(NEXSTAR) — Someone with incredible luck could take home roughly $1.4 billion this week if they were able to overcome the insanely slim odds and win the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots. As of Thursday, those prizes sit at estimated totals of $792 million and $600 million, respectively.

While experts often encourage you to keep a massive lottery win quiet, you may not have the chance to do so, depending on where you live.

Numerous states that participate in both Powerball and Mega Millions are required to publicly identify winners of such large lottery payouts.

In California, where the last Mega Millions jackpot was won by two tickets sold at the same gas station, disclosure laws require the state lottery to share the winner’s full name and where they bought the ticket. That’s why we know who won the nation’s largest lottery prize, a $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot hit in November 2022.

States have varying requirements on how much information about a winner is made public.

A winner’s name, town, prize size, and where they purchased the ticket are “all a matter of public record,” in Idaho, the state’s lottery explains in its winner’s guide. The Iowa Lottery also says it is impossible for winners to remain anonymous when claiming prizes.

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 YorkSouth DakotaVermont, and Wisconsin, your name and city are made public.

Some states have more complicated rules. Take Michigan, for example, where a $842.4 million Powerball jackpot hit on January 1 has yet to be claimed. According to the state lottery, a winner of a state-level game who scores more than $10,000 is 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 Arizona, the name of anyone who wins $100,000 or more is confidential for 90 days after the prize has been awarded. These winners can “elect to keep their name permanently confidential,” but their city and county of residence are not confidential. Florida only allows those who win $250,000 or more to be exempt from public disclosure for 90 days. After that, state law requires the winner’s name, city of residence, game played, and date and amount won to be provided “to any third party who requests the information.”

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.

Other states will allow anonymity for winners of large lottery prizes, but public records requests may squash that secretiveness.

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.

Sometimes, it comes down to how much you won.

In North Carolina, winners of more than $600 don’t retain their anonymity, according to Nexstar’s WAVY. Minnesota allows winners of more than $10,000 to opt into remaining anonymous. In Illinois, that threshold is much higher at $250,000.

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. Lottery winners in Kansas, Maryland, and North Dakota also have the option to remain anonymous, regardless of the size of their prize.

Other states that allow winners to remain anonymous include Delaware, Mississippi, South Carolina, Montana, New Jersey, and Wyoming.

If you win any lottery games, be sure to check with your jurisdiction’s lottery office to determine whether you can remain anonymous.

The current Powerball jackpot sits at an estimated $600 million, with a cash value of roughly $293.4 million. At that size, the jackpot ranks as the 13th largest in the game’s history.

At an estimated $792 million, the current Mega Millions jackpot ranks as the sixth-largest in the game’s history. It has a cash value of roughly $381.8 million.

Tickets for both games start at $2. Powerball drawings are held every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET. Mega Millions drawings are held at 11 p.m. ET every Tuesday and Friday.

Your odds of winning either are slim — 1 in 292. 2 million for the Powerball jackpot, and 1 in 302.6 for the Mega Millions grand prize.

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