Privacy Proposal For Illinois Lottery Winners

Feb 17, 2014

A state legislator wants to give Lottery winners the option of staying out of the public eye.

When a couple from Red Bud, Illinois won $218 million dollars in 2012 -- their share of a record-setting Mega Millions jackpot -- they were presented with one of those giant checks.

Public presentations of big prizes are tradition. But in Illinois, disclosure of winners is also the law.  Illinois Lottery Director Michael Jones explains why.

"The essential element of making sure that the millions of people who participate in a drawing are assured that a random winner was chosen, and they can see who it is, is an important part of the formula.  I think that gives people confidence in the Illinois Lottery. And will also make them assured that the prizes are awarded appropriately and randomly," Jones said.

State Rep. Will Davis, D-Homewood, wants to flip that practice on its face so lottery winners would be kept anonymous.

"I could only imagine that if people know that you won a large sum of money, how the scam artists must come out of the woodwork," Davis said.

Under Davis's proposal, Illinois could only share a winner's identity if she wants it made public.