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New bill would withhold lottery winner names for 90 days

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State lawmakers want to give winners of the Arizona Lottery what one calls a “running start” to protecting their privacy and security before their names become public.

Without dissent, the Senate Committee on Commerce and Workforce Development on Monday approved legislation which makes the names of major winners confidential for 90 days. That includes anyone who wins at least $600.

The proposal by Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, would still permit winners to “out” themselves before that.

“To have your name quickly put out into the public really would subject you to a lot of problems,” he told lawmakers. That could range from efforts to kidnap children for ransom to being harassed by everyone from investment advisers to people who want to borrow money.

Kavanagh said he remains convinced there is no public need to know who wins. He said nobody remembers the name of major lottery winners.

That apparently is not the view of the Legislature which killed a more far-reaching version of Kavanagh’s measure two years ago. It would have kept the names of lottery winners permanently out of public view.

Now Kavanagh is trying something a little less radical, saying he’ll settle for a 90-day window to give people “a running start on safety and security.”

“Holding their names back for 90 days would allow them to take security measures, would allow them to perhaps get sound investment advice before they’re suddenly harangued and harassed by everybody, maybe set up a foundation so when people hit them for money they can say, ‘I’ve set up a charitable foundation, go see my administrator,’ “ Kavanagh said.

The only opposition to SB 1047 came from attorney Chris Moeser representing KPNX-TV, the NBC affiliate in Phoenix.

Moeser called this year’s version “much better” than what was proposed last year. But he said that the 90-day window Kavanagh wants may still be too long a period to keep the information confidential.

“We just feel that perhaps a shorter period of 45 to 60 days could better balance those security interests I think he’s concerned about with the transparency that’s important to the Lottery so that the public can be sure that everything’s above board,” Moeser said.

The legislation which now needs approval of the full Senate would still require the Lottery to immediately disclose the city and county residence of the winner.

One comment

  1. The enforced publicity of lottery winners, as appears to happen in most of the US, would definitely not be welcome here in Britain. British winners can choose to go public or not, and the sad thing is that many of the stories we hear of lottery win problems, family disputes, marriage breakups and so on often relate to those who announced their win in a blaze of champagne-popping publicity. Anyway, if you’re interested, I’ve made up a little free and just-for-fun page which generates your own personal “Quick Pick” numbers. Who knows, it might work – you just never know your luck… As I say, it is completely free and just a bit of fun, so look out for VillaLibra Lucky Numbers if you want to see if you can locate it for yourself.

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