Why Do Lottery Winners Have to Go Public?

Winning the lottery comes with many decisions and situations that you likely have never had to worry about. These situations can quickly become overwhelming and cause you to enjoy your massive win less than you should. One of the most blatant of these situations is the publicity and lack of privacy that accompanies winning the lottery. This disregard for a winner’s personal space has led many people to ask the question of why do lottery winners have to go public? In this article, we will look at this question and see the reason why lottery operators often force their winners to reveal who they are.

Darth Vader Anonymous Lottery Winner in JamaicaThe Privacy Debacle

Before we get into the reasons why lottery winners have to go public, let us acknowledge that not all lottery winners have to announce themselves publicly. There are a number of different factors that determine whether you will be forced to publicly announce that you have become a jackpot winner or not. These factors range from the location that you live in (nine US states do allow winners to stay anonymous, as do many countries), to the amount that you have won. Other times, as is the case for Canadian winners, the ability to remain anonymous depends on whether or not announcing your win will cause you to be in danger.

The fact that so many factors weigh in on this decision has led to many debacles over whether players should be able to hide their identities—many of which have ended in court to be resolved. However, as a standard, lottery operators remain firm that winners need to announce themselves publicly. So, without further comments on the politics of the matter, let us look at the reasons that they keep to this opinion.

Reasons That Lottery Winners Have to Go Public

While there are many reasons that lottery operators use to justify making winners go public, many of these reasons can be considered smoke screens that do not actually hold much substance. However, four reasons are sound and do make sense if looking at them from the right perspective. We have compiled these key reasons and outlined them below:

Reason #1: To Show That a Lottery Is Legitimate

In 2019 alone, the worldwide lottery industry was valued at an astonishing $320 billion (with $91.32 billion being generated in the US alone). As is natural, numbers like this tend to attract many people who are trying to get a slice of the lottery pie. Unfortunately, not everyone can be a winner, and this sometimes turns people bitter. Sometimes, losers become so bitter that they tend to imply (or outright state) that a lottery is not above board and that all winners are predetermined and that the game is somehow fixed.

One way that a lottery organization shows that its lotteries are entirely legitimate and transparent is by forcing winners to announce themselves. This allows the public (including the angry player with the losing ticket) the ability to delve into the life of the winner on their own and see that they do not actually have any affiliation with the lottery. This transparency helps garner trust between lottery operators and players and is an integral part of a lottery being able to survive in the long run. It also works to prevent fraud from occurring inside the lottery operator because the public or press generally scrutinises every win.

Reason #2: To Show That Anyone Can Be a Winner

Lotto Max Winner Michael GebruWorking hand in hand with reason number one above, lotteries often insist that winners reveal themselves for the sole reason of broadcasting the wide variety of different people who win. It has been proven that there are people from all walks of life that have won the lottery. Displaying these winners garners hope in future players by showing that no matter who you are and no matter what you are currently doing, there is a possibility that you could strike it big—just like the random assortment of lottery winners that already have. This action alone goes a long way in ensuring that players do not give up hope and that they continue playing for the foreseeable future.

Reason #3: For Publicity

Let us be honest—nothing makes lottery players want to go out and buy a ticket for an upcoming draw quite like seeing somebody else who has just won being handed a giant oversized cheque that has way too many zeros on it. As with every other industry on the planet, advertising is key. Because of this, one of the biggest things that lotteries rely on is advertising their winners in the hope of generating more players. It is for this reason that lottery operators will often hold a ceremony to hand over winnings to a jackpot winner. These ceremonies often have members of the press present, and sometimes the lottery operators themselves will even do feature articles on winners to showcase their lives before the win and the way that they received their win.

Reason #4: To Help Players Get It Over and Done With

This may sound incredibly strange to you at first, but let us explain. Many winners who have tried to remain anonymous have been hounded by the press and other people interested in their win who are all trying to find out their story. This hounding can sometimes go on for years and even follow them far away from the region where they initially won.

By contrast, players who accept the limelight from the start and answer all the menial questions that the press wants from the beginning are generally left alone to do as they please. This is because once everybody has the answers to their questions, they have no more reason to bother the new winners. For this reason, lottery operators believe it is better to let their jackpot winners experience their 15 minutes of fame and just ‘get it over and done with.’


As you can see, there is an entirely different side to the argument regarding whether or not lottery winners should be able to stay entirely anonymous. The four reasons listed above do provide sound reasoning as to why lottery operators prefer jackpot winners to step into the spotlight. However, we do feel strongly that each case should be judged individually based on who the winner is. Hopefully, even though this may mean more paperwork, it may prevent instances where people are targeted for their winnings to the point where they may even lose their lives (as was the sad case of Craigory Burch Jr.).

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