wgerard a year ago

I hope she wins. There's a pretty funny (or sad, I suppose) reddit comment about winning the lottery that seems pretty true:


Winning the lottery (publicly, at least) seems to be a real monkey's paw wish.

  • LaGrange a year ago

    > If you are really paranoid, you might consider picking another G7 or otherwise mainstream country other than the U.S. according to where you want to live if the United States dissolves into anarchy or Britney Spears is elected to the United States Senate.

    Ah, 2014. Such a bright, optimistic time to be alive.

    • tnzn a year ago

      I hope the US dissolves into anarchism. I'd move here.

  • kodablah a year ago

    > I hope she wins

    I'm not sure I do. She opted into a transparent system and gets the down side that comes with it (or opts out). If this was thrust upon her, I might feel different. I fear the precedent this would set for redacting names from Forbes lists and the like. It's one of those unfortunate occurrences where openness and privacy are in conflict and when it's government actions like this, arresting someone, awarding some other monies to someone, etc I think openness should prevail.

    • baddox a year ago

      I don’t see the value in sticking to this legal technicality. She could have accepted the ticket using an anonymous trust, but since she signed it with her own name instead, she’s not allowed to change it. Since anonymous trusts are already legal there, there’s no threat of “losing openness.”

      I mean come on, that’s such a petty technicality for such a massive life event. Just let her set up the anonymous trust and move the ticket to it.

      • kodablah a year ago

        I don't really appreciate skirting "technicalities", especially in a precedent-setting legal decision. If the law is wrong (or even if the spirit/intent of the law does not apply here), she should win and the law should change or be struck down. I wouldn't mind if the judge decided "it's illegal to make someone who signed a lottery ticket with their real name not change to a trust and keep their name hidden." But I would mind if the judge decided "I feel sorry for her, in this one instance she can remain anonymous."

        • apaprocki a year ago

          If you read any legal opinions in visible cases they are never just the judge feeling or not feeling sorry for the plaintiff (or defendant) and are deeply steeped in the law as written as well as precedent before even approaching making new precedent. Maybe a judge could comment but I’d venture they would almost avoid territory that would be ripe for appeal as much as possible.

          • ABCLAW a year ago

            Judges that aren't on specialized tribunals aren't expected to, and mostly don't, know the law (because it's quite impossible) - they rely on the Barristers to inform them, then get their clerks to do some digging to see if the briefs are on point. The higher up you go in the chain, the more clerk time they have to research and the more control they have over how long they take to put out their ruling.

            Junior judges are more reticent to rock the boat - they have less resources, less understanding of how the judicial boards and other oversight mechanisms work, etc. Old greybeards generally stop caring - either about bothering to change things or about how 'safe' their ruling will be on appeal. The most active in tossing bad precedent out the window generally end up being the ones that get appointed to higher ranking courts.

        • coldtea a year ago

          >If the law is wrong (or even if the spirit/intent of the law does not apply here), she should win and the law should change or be struck down.

          That's orthogonal. What you propose translates to that while the law is not changed (which can take decades in some cases) we should let people suffer rather than "skip technicalities" when we can.

          How about sodomy laws (still present in some jurisdictions). Should they be imposed upon gay men until those laws change? And no biggie if people suffer in the meantime?

          • kodablah a year ago

            > That's orthogonal. What you propose translates to that while the law is not changed (which can take decades in some cases) we should let people suffer rather than "skip technicalities" when we can.

            You misunderstand me. I am saying if the law is wrong, she should win (and so should everyone else, every time, while the law is wrong). I am also saying if the law is wrong, it should change or be struck down. I am not saying she should lose until the law is changed.

          • wahern a year ago

            By making it easier to change the official winner future people might suffer much more if it becomes easier to challenge an award.

            Just as a practical matter, people are more likely to litigate an award _before_ the award is disbursed. "Dumb" rules that require an entity to disburse funds to a specific named person contingent upon some simple formality have actually arisen because more robust rules that carefully balance interests and facts (including fraud) can create too much litigation. Those more robust rules are important to keep, but sometimes simply deferring a challenge until after disbursement can cut down on the amount and overall cost of litigation. For one thing it completely removes one of the 3 parties; in this case the agency administering the lottery.

            For example, there are rules (legislative and court made law) for things like life insurance policies and bank accounts that require the entities disbursing the funds to pay directly to a named beneficiary, even if ownership of those funds could be and actually is being challenged in, say, probate court. And you can't circumvent the rules by asking a court to change the named beneficiary; that would defeat the whole purpose of the rule, and courts normally won't do that even if they know that, ultimately, the challenger will ultimately be given the funds.

            That's the question here, whether the rules being challenged here are the kind of rules intended to prevent litigation that ropes in the agency administering the lottery. If so and the court makes an exception here, it would be difficult if not impossible to prevent other scenarios where challengers try to force the agency to change the name of the winner rather than directly suing the winner after disbursement. The former is often less costly for the challenger and could easily invite more litigation that challenges rightful ownership of a lottery ticket.

          • mikestew a year ago

            “She should win”, it is right there in the part you quoted.

        • baddox a year ago

          I think this should set a precedent, and I am quite confident that it wouldn’t cause any problems other than the lottery being upset about losing publicity.

          • kodablah a year ago

            I think that's reasonable and would not be surprised if the judge says that the harm placed on the individual by the state just for participating is too large, legally. But I would also not be surprised if public's right to know trumps all.

            • ghaff a year ago

              I'm not sure what the compelling public interest is in knowing the name of the person who won the lottery. I suppose there's some argument for transparency to better protect against, say, relatives of lottery officials regularly winning. But I presume there are other safeguards in place to check that things are run on the up and up.

              The state gets their substantial cut--both through the lottery itself and through taxes--either way. Without having looked into the history of lottery practices, I'm pretty unconvinced that winners need to be outed to collect their winnings.

        • ABCLAW a year ago


          Equitable relief is precedent-setting, and derives from the basis of "whoa, our rules feel 'off', lets give this person a break".

          If you want the precedent to be narrowly used, you just write a ruling that makes it clear that the outcome is exceptionally fact specific.

          • kodablah a year ago

            We should ask our judges not to legislate from the bench by giving narrowly construed decisions contrary to the written law that apply to nobody else. Either every lottery winner in the state is legally right to remain anonymous and collect (be it via changing to a trust whilst remaining anonymous or however) or every one is not. This is not some extreme example and I can definitely see this coming up again.

            • ABCLAW a year ago

              >We should ask our judges not to legislate from the bench

              Why not? This is a core facet of their job.

              The tug of war in law between flexibility and certainty is nothing new.

              In this case you've state the outcome should be either all entitled to anonymity or all restricted from anonymity. Why are those the only two options?

              Say sociological research shows: 1) people conceal lottery earnings from spouses in the context of divorce with tremendous regularity, and 2) people who obtain lottery earnings are 10x more likely to be killed by distant, financially-at-risk relatives. Should a lottery winner with 3 violent felons with debts in his family be dealt with in the same manner as an upper middle class winner in the middle of a divorce?

              This is why our judges get to tinker with our rules. Because real life has edge cases.

              • kodablah a year ago

                > This is why our judges get to tinker with our rules. Because real life has edge cases.

                Real life also has preferences and bias. This is why our judges mostly do not get to tinker with the rules.

                • ABCLAW a year ago

                  >This is why our judges mostly do not get to tinker with the rules.

                  They mostly don't tinker, not because they aren't allowed, but because rules are designed to capture the base case, so most cases are anticipated by the rules.

                  This is why most reviews and reporters do not list every banal dispute.

            • dnautics a year ago

              Very few people talk about this, but there are two categorically different forms of judicial activism - one where judges carve out from themselves or the executive or legislature, powers (usually regulatory) from whole cloth. And one where judges restrict the power of the state (e.g. "the state cannot arrest someone for burning the flag, whether or not such a law exists").

              Which one would you suppose a ruling on this falls under?

              • kodablah a year ago

                > Which one would you suppose a ruling on this falls under?

                The latter hopefully/clearly. But I don't consider it activism to uniformly apply your interpretation of the law. The activism I was concerned about is narrow application in this supposedly "exceptional" circumstance. Is that a "third form" or is it an extension of the first except they carved it out for someone else?

          • dclowd9901 a year ago

            This happens _a lot_ in Supreme Court decisions.

      • wahern a year ago

        The problem is allowing people to challenge the process, ex post facto, by which a winner is established. You can't think of any reason why making it easier to challenge that process--to change the outcome--might be problematic for an agency tasked with giving away hundreds of millions of dollars? Finality is one of the primary functions of rules and laws--of justice--often more important than getting a "correct" outcome in any particular case, especially in cases such as this where the woman is free to return to the status quo ante by forgoing the winnings altogether.

        And in as much as courts can make and change laws, they must do so on principle, almost always by applying or extending some pre-existing principle of law. It can be difficult to articulate a principle cabined to the particular facts of a single case. It's much easier for legislatures to do that--to craft a rule that literally recites the facts of this woman's case so that the exception only applies to her and to people facing her exact same circumstance.

        Maybe the court can do that in this case. We just shouldn't make the mistake of thinking it's an easy case to resolve.

        • baddox a year ago

          I don’t get it. No one is challenging the owner of the ticket, as far as I can tell. This woman is the owner. So, assuming they can confirm that she is the rightful owner right now using whatever existing process is in place, then why not do that confirmation, then let her choose to assign the winnings to an anonymous trust?

        • dnautics a year ago

          I can't say for sure but I doubt the court would let you challenge the process so easily if you didn't have a winning ticket, because you wouldn't have standing.

    • _red a year ago

      I agree she opted in.

      However, for your "Forbes" example the law makes a distinction between a public person and a private person.

      Many many "private" people successfully sue Forbes to get off their annual "kidnap and ransom" list. The key to being declared a private person is never making public comments or speeches, etc.

      • gamblor956 a year ago

        Many many "private" people successfully sue Forbes to get off their annual "kidnap and ransom" list.

        Citation needed. Something like that would be pretty big news, especially considering that Forbes will voluntarily redact names of individuals from their list if requested, no lawsuit required.

        • madamelic a year ago

          Something tells me that if you sue for privacy, you probably aren't going to want that fact widely or at all publicized.

    • prostoalex a year ago

      > If this was thrust upon her, I might feel different.

      While it’s not thrust upon her in the sense that someone held a gun to her head to force a ticket purchase, her options are severely limited due to state’s monopoly on lottery business. If some entity (including another state) came up with an anonymous lottery system to serve such market, most likely she would not be able to legally purchase such tickets in her home state.

    • dclowd9901 a year ago

      I'm with you, but mostly because I hate the lottery system and think it's a shitty mechanism for the state to extract even _more_ money out of the poorest and most destitute by preying on their hopes and dreams. Not to mention, it's very possible it's being used as a mechanism for organized crime: http://www.pennlive.com/watchdog/2017/09/defying_the_odds_pa...

    • sp332 a year ago

      I don't think it was that transparent. She followed instructions that she was given by the commission and the result was not what she wanted. She could have put the name of the trust on the ticket instead of her own name, but she was given bad advice by the official website.

    • jsgo a year ago

      re: redacting names from Forbes lists and the like - and if it did? What is the point of said lists beyond a congratulatory pat on the back for those who want it?

      In this particular case, there is precedence where winning has been detrimental to the winners specifically for the sake of winning (scams, murders, etc.). I think that substantially outweighs the "need" for transparency of the lottery system to seem above board. Just continue to highlight where the ticket was sold and that it was a John/Jane Doe unless the person wants to opt into disclosing identity and call it a day.

      • kodablah a year ago

        This assumes you trust your government to actually award it to someone and you trust the ones running the lottery that who it was awarded to happened actually by chance. Because you'll never be able to investigate either without making the information available to someone outside the government (and even then, do you trust an "independent" auditor?). Transparency in government actions has value sometimes, even at the detriment of individuals. But it's not at all costs and I do agree a balance could be found between the public's right to know and scrutinize and a person's right to privacy.

        • jsgo a year ago

          while that is very true, but what guarantees do I have that the people winning it publicly aren't actors, friends/family of lottery workers, etc.?

          If I'm willing to pony up money at absurd odds for a chance to win a larger stack of money, honestly, I don't know how much private/public disclosure of winner is going to affect that. People go to casinos to gamble where the games are inherently stacked against you yet continue to do so.

          I just think it is a concern for transparency that need not be there, honestly. Obviously, that's just an individual's opinion, but I don't think it benefits to the degree is assumed. There are some states in which you can win anonymously, and their lotteries are doing fine.

    • dnautics a year ago

      Did the lottery ticket have an EULA on it giving all the conditions of the win? What was the mechanism in place making sure that the purchaser fully understood the provisions of the agreement prior to making the lottery purchase?

      Are you siding with the state on this merely because it's a state? Would you feel the same way if it were microsoft?

      • kodablah a year ago

        > Are you siding with the state on this merely because it's a state?

        No, and I definitely don't side with the state because it was in the rules. To me, what's legal matters, not what you signed away. When I say "opt in" vs "opt out" I am talking about the known inherent risks of publicity, not about whether you can change the name you sign or other fine print. I am just conceding the argument for transparency has merit.

    • s73v3r_ a year ago

      Why? Can I ask why you feel entitled to know what other people are worth? And where can I see your name and net worth?

  • meddlepal a year ago

    The follow up is pretty good advice too and is the advice I have been given by lawyers I know that are familiar with these problems... also they have all advised getting the hell out the country for awhile. Congrats, you are taking a two-week vacation in London or Paris. Long enough to get paperwork dealt with and short enough that it does not need explanation to family, friends or colleagues.

  • hathawsh a year ago

    That Reddit thread is really great. One idea they don't mention is that perhaps the extreme transparency of winning the lottery should include anyone who begs for money. That is to say, the lottery winner should bring a camera with them everywhere they go, film every beggar and harasser, and post all the footage on YouTube. This would of course require a good bodyguard or two.

    I think that's what I would do. When someone is about to start their pitch, I would tell them the rules: if you pitch to me, you must do it on camera, in public. Otherwise, I'm calling my bodyguard.

    • taurath a year ago

      Except the biggest problem will be friends or family that suddenly all “need help” because they spend their money frivolously or suddenly their car breaks. That or you get totally pushed out because you weren’t generous enough.

      • khedoros1 a year ago

        My mother-in-law got an accident settlement 20 years ago. Suddenly, foreign "relatives" she'd never met were calling her for handouts (and that's besides the relatives that she knows who were asking).

  • mcbits a year ago

    I really disagree with the common advice to take the lump sum - unless the winner is elderly. It seems to be centered on the idea that you can earn more interest/dividends yourself, but there are a few problems with that.

    1. To get higher rates of return, you expose yourself to more risk of losses. The risk is real, i.e., you could lose everything.

    2. You need even better (riskier) returns to pay for all the legal/investment/accounting advice because lottery winners rarely have experience here, at least not in the first year.

    3. You need even better returns (and more risk) to make up for the taxes you pay up front. The annuity is based on pre-tax funds, and federal tax is much higher than the 25% initial withholding.

    4. A $2-3 million windfall is more than enough to live on a sensible six-figure budget and get some practice with investing. If you screw up, you get another windfall next year. Just avoid debt.

    5. Will taxes go up in 10 years? Who cares. They won't go to 100%. Even if you lose everything for 9 years straight, you'll still be rich in 10 years with far more certainty than if you took the lump sum. Just stay out of debt.

    • walshemj a year ago

      You are ignoring political risk eg in 15 years that state government changes the rules and sequesters the money - this actually happened in the UK to the SERP pension I lost mine for a small uplift in the state pension when they changed the rules.

      You also ignoring the time value of money 100 million to day is worth more than 10 million for 10 years

      • kale a year ago

        Illinois has had difficulty recently paying lottery winnings to citizens. In 2015, 3900 winning tickets had delayed payouts [0]. Risk should always be factored into financial decisions, and risk of a lottery institution going insolvent is non-zero.

        [0] http://money.cnn.com/2017/06/27/news/illinois-lottery-state-...

        • mcbits a year ago

          They did pay, but yes, nothing is completely risk-free. The risk of a lottery winner losing their lump sum to mismanagement, fraud, etc. is still a lot higher than the risk of a state going belly-up, although maybe Illinois will be the one to change that.

      • thaumasiotes a year ago

        > You also ignoring the time value of money 100 million to day is worth more than 10 million for 10 years

        The "now" and "later" lottery payment options do not offer equal nominal amounts, so it doesn't make sense to just say "you're ignoring the time value of money". The regular payment pays out more nominal money because of the time value of money. You could argue that they're getting it wrong, but that's a radically different argument.

        • walshemj a year ago

          Depends on 1 how old you are and 2 your health

      • TheCoelacanth a year ago

        > You also ignoring the time value of money 100 million to day is worth more than 10 million for 10 years

        The lump sum is generally pretty close to what an annuity from a reputable company would cost, so the time value of money is already factored into it. Of course, you might prefer a riskier investment for higher returns, but that is really dependent on your risk tolerance, it's not a complete no-brainer to go with the lump sum.

    • toast0 a year ago

      Your point three doesn't seem very accurate.

      First, the withholding rate is immaterial, it's clearly not enough to meet the tax obligations, you'll owe much more, and should start paying quarterly estimated taxes right away.

      Because the annuity is pre-tax, the annuity payments will be taxable. There is some positive tax benefit of spreading the income over many years, because you have a lower marginal tax rate on the bottom of the bracket, but if the annual payments are $2-3 million, there's still a large amount taxed at the maximum rates.

      In addition, if you take the lump sum, and invest it, your gains will likely be in the form of qualified dividends, and long term capital gains, which have more favorable tax treatment. If you invest in tax-exempt bonds, you won't pay any tax on the bond payments (but can still have taxable capital gains or losses on the bonds themselves).

      The behavioral factors are much more compelling.

      I would also take issue with 2; you can take the lump sum and dump it in a Target Date 2030 fund, and be done with it. It's not tax optimized, but whatever, it's easy and done. Yes, you need an estate attorney to help you draw up wills and/or living trusts, but that's not a big deal either. Also, get a big umbrella insurance policy to cover whatever. Because there's no way to shelter the lump sum (or annuity) payments from taxes, and because future capital gains will have preferential treatment, there's not much reason to spend a lot of effort on heroic tax avoidance. You probably need to spend a little bit more on legal advice when you take up new ventures than you would otherwise, but that's only needed when you take up the new venture.

    • savanaly a year ago

      Huh? You could still have all those benefits if you took the lump sum. Just put it in index funds and extract as needed. Stocks deemed too risky? Put it in bonds. It will still be better than the pathetic interest rate offered by the lottery's annuity.

      • mcbits a year ago

        If you win the Powerball tomorrow and take the annuity, you'll take home about $2 million after taxes. You can put $1 million in index funds and try to scrape by on the other $1 million for a year, by which time you'll be more knowledgeable and better equipped to deal with next year's slightly larger payout. I'm assuming the abstract "you" are a typical lottery winner and not an experienced and well-connected investment banker.

    • snowwrestler a year ago

      The main reason to take the lump sum is if you want to do things that cost more than the annuity. For example, starting a company, purchasing a company, running a political campaign, giving a large donation (e.g. endowing a position at a university), etc.

      • mcbits a year ago

        Those are just a few of the ways a typical rags-to-riches lottery winner (with tons of encouragement from an entourage of friendly and helpful advisors) is likely to end up broke in 10 years, and exactly why I'd expect the annuity to be more profitable for them in the long run.

  • ChuckMcM a year ago

    Yeah, that. It always amazed me that Eric Schmidt spent millions every year on personal security for himself and his family. But the reality is that for some people it is "easier" to find someone with money and force them to give it up than it is to get the money legitimately.

    The comments about family really resonate. I did not realize that so many of these folks were being killed by family members, that seems a bit extreme.

    • ikeboy a year ago

      The general rule is, if you can afford it, you need it. I think I first saw this rule about lawyers but rings true with bodyguards, insurance, etc

  • aje403 a year ago

    It's really like some kind of kafkaesque greek irony or bad horror movie. Most of these people probably wish they threw away the ticket.

  • DoreenMichele a year ago

    You're not going to double your money, so cool it. Let me say that again. You're not going to double your money, so cool it.

    My dad grew up in the Great Depression. He used to say "The best way to double your money is fold it in half and stick it in your pocket."

  • King-Aaron a year ago

    That was a truly eye-opening read. My word.

sosuke a year ago

If you don't happen to read the article and think to mention the anonymous trust way of accepting the winnings. She can't do that either.

"The state allows people to form an anonymous trust, NewHampshire.com reported, but it’s a moot point for the woman — she signed her name on the back of the ticket shortly after winning, and altering the signature would nullify the ticket."

Oh and an excellent tidbit out of the story is that the attorney representing her actually blogged about the winner having been in NH and how the winner should not sign the back of the ticket. Apparently the ticket winner is now using that attorney to represent her in the courts. https://www.shaheengordon.com/New-Hampshire-Legal-Blog/2018/...

  • giarc a year ago

    So moral of the story is to never sign your ticket.

    Looks like some lucky person was smart enough to do that.

    "In 2016, the last winner of the Powerball followed that advice. The $487 million prize claimed through the Robin Egg 2016 Nominee Trust, which was created by Shaheen, and he serves as its trustee."

    • throw7 a year ago

      I think the moral is... do not talk/sign/call/anything, walk, no run, to a good lawyer well versed in the area of: "I've just won the lottery, please help."

      • joezydeco a year ago

        A lot of people are cheated out of their winning each year by sales clerks that check the ticket, tell the buyer "nope, it's a loser", then pull the ticket out of the trash once the buyer has left.

        Signing the back upon purchase is a strong defense against this fraud. So it's not as black-and-white as it seems.

        • giarc a year ago

          I can only talk about Canada, but in both Ontario and western Canada they scan your ticket and an audible sound is made if you are a winner (or loser). For both winners and non-winners, a receipt prints out and the clerk gives you both.

          Additionally there is a self scan kiosk where you can check your ticket. And there's always publicly listed winning numbers.

          • giarc a year ago

            However, I will add that often a clerk won't scan your ticket if it's not signed. Therefore, if you want to check your numbers without signing the ticket, your options are self scan, their official app, online numbers, newspapers etc. Lots of options.

          • newbuser a year ago

            No idea how the system works, but if the clerk is able to disable the scanner and manually press a hidden button that plays the audio of the losing sound, seems like a pretty easy system to break.

            • giarc a year ago

              And print out an official lotto receipt on their official paper.... come on.

              • shawabawa3 a year ago

                Who stays for their losing receipt?

                • giarc a year ago

                  Probably not many people do, but the point was made in regards to the comment that "a lot of people are cheated out of their winnings". I made the comment to simply point out that may have been the case in the future, but most modern lottery corporations have made efforts to eliminate that.

            • xsmasher a year ago

              Or if the clerk scans a losing ticket of their own, from their pocket.

        • joering2 a year ago

          You have anything to back that story up? Even an online article?

          Most lottery systems around the world will buzz a "winner" or "not a winner" sound and some flashy lights when you bring the ticket to a clerk. Try it in Germany, England and USA (places where I played lotto and witnessed it firsthand)

          • joezydeco a year ago

            Sure. Here's an example from just a month or two ago:


            (and yes, a lot of systems now have self-service terminals that one can use to check your own ticket, and cashier terminals that make audio, but fraud will always find a way.)

            Even an online article?

            Were you looking for a paper copy? I don't have your mailing address.

    • donald123 a year ago

      Not exactly, it is advised by the lottery office to immediately sign your ticket. Otherwise it may create a lot of unnecessary troubles, like your ticket is lost, robbed, or some friend claims you had verbal agreement on splitting the rewards, etc.

      • giarc a year ago

        On the extremely rare chance that you do win, avoiding the troubles of a newly minted public millionaire, not signing it seems like a good trade off.

        • donald123 a year ago

          Losing the ticket is NOT extremely rare chance at all. Avoiding troubles going public, versus losing all of the million dollars rewards, it's obvious what people would choose.

    • greggarious a year ago

      > So moral of the story is to never sign your ticket.

      But doesn't this mean if someone can assault you and steal the ticket they can claim it themselves? Sounds like both have risks :/

      • madamelic a year ago

        I think you have bigger problems if you count being mugged between your couch and your cell phone to call a law firm as a risk.

      • giarc a year ago

        Someone can assault you and steal your wallet. Does this prevent you from carrying a wallet?

        • newbuser a year ago

          Do you carry millions in cash around in your wallet?

          • giarc a year ago

            I wouldn't walk around with a million dollar ticket in my pocket, nor tell people. You're really reaching here.

  • wyldfire a year ago

    > She can't do that either.

    But, why? Because she accidentally signed the ticket before realizing that it invalidated that option? She holds the winning ticket, just let her redact her signature from it legitimately and claim her winnings.

    • wahern a year ago

      The question is whether the law establishing the lottery permits that, and if so what clear limits the court can put into place so that the agency operating the lottery doesn't have to contend with too many complex scenarios that could ultimately result. Money attracts litigation, especially when the rules aren't crystal clear.

      It sucks for this woman, but technically she could always forgo the winnings altogether. Nobody is forcing her to take the money, or to keep it. She wants to have her cake and eat it too. What's she's asking is reasonable on its face, but there are larger considerations at play.

      The legislature is still free to address this woman's concerns directly, as well as for future winners. Ideally that's what would really happen. Maybe she should pledge some donations to her friendly neighborhood representatives.

      • baddox a year ago

        > The question is whether the law establishing the lottery permits that

        But that’s shouldn’t be the question. The question should be whether that law is extremely dumb (obviously it is), and whether it threatens to place undeserved stress on an individual going through a major life event (it does).

        • gameshot911 a year ago

          There are good reasons for forcing winners to be publicly named. One of which is that it helps the integrity of the game - harder for the lottery organizer to just not pay out, or to cheat and pay it to their lackeys every time.

          • baddox a year ago

            I understand, but that’s not the real story here, because her lottery allows anonymous trusts to accept winnings.

      • ynniv a year ago

        You would think the legislature would lend a kind ear to their next great donor.

      • rabidrat a year ago

        If she forgoes the winnings she should at least get the ticket price refunded.

tlb a year ago

I understand why people don't want everyone to know they're rich. I'm rich (not $560M, but some) and you can figure that out from various news stories, and it does affect relationships somewhat. More so outside Silicon Valley.

On the other hand, I understand why lotteries want to publicize winners in their marketing.

A fair deal might be, that the publicity value is defined to be X% (say 10%) of the prize, and you can take the full prize with publicity, or the prize - X% anonymously.

  • jonlucc a year ago

    If I'm not mistaken, it's about more than just publicity; it's also about avoiding fraud. As someone put it before "come spend money on a chance to win a very large pot of money; don't worry, we have given some out before, but you just have to believe us".

    • Someone1234 a year ago

      Yet other countries (and even some states) get by without releasing the name. All you need is oversight, which frankly should be a prerequisite of a lottery either way. The real question is why investigative journalists are America's means of oversight rather than have a real system in-place?

      The whole thing places lottery winners into a dangerous situation, and everyone knows it. That's why the stereotypical "change your name and move" advice is so often recited.

    • baddox a year ago

      But in this case she would have been allowed to accept the ticket under an anonymous trust. The only problem is that she signed the ticket, and there is an incredibly stupid legal technicality which prevents you from changing the signature.

      It is ludicrous that it would take a judge more than a few hours to review the law and make a decision to allow her to change the ticket to an anonymous trust.

      • ASalazarMX a year ago

        I hope she wins because that requisite is dumb. You can endorse a $50 check but you can't endorse a multimillion lottery ticket?

    • root_axis a year ago

      Indeed, and we know people with privileged access have successfully abused the system in the past.


      • astura a year ago

        Don't forget about the infamous McDonald's Monopoly fraud!


        >In 2000, the U.S. promotion was halted after fraud was uncovered. A subcontracting company called Simon Marketing (a then-subsidiary of Cyrk), which had been hired by McDonald's to organize and promote the game, failed to recognize a flaw in its procedures. Chief of security Jerome P. Jacobson[3] was able to remove the most expensive game pieces, which he then passed to associates who would redeem them and share the proceeds. The associates won almost all of the top prizes between 1995 and 2000, including McDonald's giveaways that did not have the Monopoly theme. The associates netted over $24 million.

    • simcop2387 a year ago

      That's entirely why a number of states require it to be kept non-anonymous for winnings above certain amounts. Because the lottery is run by a private organization they don't want that org to be able to act like it's paying out without providing proof to the public. Otherwise you can end up with situations like the mcdonalds monopoly scam. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald%27s_Monopoly#Fraud

    • PaulRobinson a year ago

      In the UK, lotteries are well regulated and audited by commissions who confirm payouts, etc.

      It's OK to stay anonymous, particularly in the largest lotteries (National Lottery and Euromillions, both operated in the UK by Camelot Plc), and you can not be publicly named without opting into it.

      It's my understanding that every person who gets a prize over £500k on the national/euro lotteries gets a visit from a Camelot employee to ensure they're prepared to handle the money and are speaking to suitable people who are not going to destroy their good fortune.

      I don't see why other lotteries in other countries can't do the same without the risk of fraud increasing.

    • ynniv a year ago

      Someone defrauding the system would know it well enough to claim it under an anonymous trust. The winner unintentionally forfeited this right by signing her name on the ticket.

    • artursapek a year ago

      You'd think the government could keep records of this and catch fraudulent lotteries, without forcing the winners to be public.

  • excalibur a year ago

    > I'm rich (not $560M, but some)

    In that case, I should tell you about my dynamite idea for a startup. It's called... umm..... Uberbookchain.

    • philwelch a year ago

      I think @tlb has his early-stage startup investments taken care of :)

nebulous1 a year ago

The lottery/state officials' story seems to be somewhat at odds with itself.

They say that they have to be open (makes sense) but they also allow you to claim via an anonymous trust, but she can't do that because she signed it. Feels like they could privately identify her to make sure she's the name on the ticket and then do the public part via a trust.

This might not fit the way the relevant laws are written, but they can't say that they're fighting in the interest of openness by not allowing this but allowing the anonymous trust in the first place.

  • jvagner a year ago

    Because the lottery commission isn't responsible for the legalities of the anonymous trust, state law is.

    They don't want to be involved in that, but they're willing to use an externally valid mechanism, which they can't influence.

    Personally, there was a way to stay anonymous, and she goofed it up. No sense in changing the system for someone who can't help themselves.

    The lottery commission shouldn't be allowed to hide results.

    • snoman a year ago

      I think nebulous1 is is pointing out that it's one thing to say "We're just following the letter of the law to the best of our ability, because we want to be 100% above board." It's another thing to say "We're fighting in the interest of openness."

      That is to say: don't pretend to be some white knight for principles when you're actually just trying to CYA. Be honest.

jonbarker a year ago

Related: I wonder if any analysis on the life outcomes of another jackpot system, "sold company for a windfall", have been done. I appreciate the bad lotto result stories because they confirm my correct bias that lotto should not be played because it is a tax on not understanding probability (except at about 350M for powerball, in which case your enemy is not expected value but variance). However, no such analysis seems to have been done on the startup ecosystem, which generally relies on big exit stories for 'free marketing'.

  • PaulRobinson a year ago

    As somebody who lived as a professional gambler for a while, I would agree that your assessment of value of most lotteries is correct: they are poor value and should be avoided.

    However, we're not expecting people to deploy Kelly criterion here, nobody is playing lotto for EV and a need to maximise returns on known value parameters.

    But I play lotto. And I know all this more than most. I have literally paid my rent with money earned from understanding this and exploiting it. WTF am I doing playing poor odd games?

    When you're playing $5k to win $5k on something where you think true odds are more like 55% in your favour, you are doing so most likely knowing $5k is 10% of your total bank (based on Kelly), and that you're 45% likely to lose. You're going to hopefully play over and over again and in the long run make money.

    When you're playing $2 to win $100m, do you actually care?

    The $2 is likely such a tiny part of your bank that you could literally lose it down the back of the sofa and not care, but the payout is so large and life-changing, that not having access to that very remote possibility - given the cost is so tiny and marginal and unnoticeable - is short-sighted.

    Yes, the maths don't work from a probability angle, but arguing that playing the lottery is a tax on ignorance is juvenile and short-sighted. Optimising your bank at that level is like trying to make sure you don't leave a single grain of rice on your plate at dinner.

    The maths of starting a business are pretty harsh, the costs of failure are higher and yet still, many people choose to do it. Are they fools? Perhaps. But they consider the cost and potential payouts to be worth it.

    See the bigger picture from time to time.

    • sigstoat a year ago

      > The $2 is likely such a tiny part of your bank...

      and when it isn't a tiny part?

      > Optimising your bank at that level is like trying to make sure you don't leave a single grain of rice on your plate at dinner.

      many individuals playing the lottery are in a position like that, and frequently spend significantly more than $2 in hopes of winning.

      > See the bigger picture from time to time.

      ...seriously? nobody cares if people like you or me burn a few dollars on a month on a lottery. the concern is for folks not in a position to do so.

      • soundwave106 a year ago

        What would be helpful in this discussion is a report on lottery spending per capita, sorted by income level and other demographics. Currently I'm not finding any out there. I do see a study showing that the average amount spent per person in the US is around $200ish (https://lendedu.com/blog/lottery-study-report/), which doesn't sound completely terrible. However, it is very probable that this number masks widespread differences in spending habits.

        I do find it problematic that states lean on a gambling game for revenue that (due to the population distribution of typical lottery players) acts as a defacto regressive tax. There's a side of me thinks this is rather exploitative, particularly with the evidence that lottery advertising is strongest in poor neighborhoods. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/powerbull-the-lottery-loves-pov...)

        With the recent emphasis in America of pooling together multiple states and tweaking odds to produce these headline-grabbing 9 figure jackpots, one other complaint: it's pretty clear to me that American lotteries fail to prepare winners for the "consequence" of winning... that is, the huge amount of financial planning and protection (even lifestyle and location changes, I'd say, along with how to handle relationships with people you know), that is necessary for having a public-known 9 figure asset base. Even lotteries that reward 6 or 7 figures may come with some shocks, but leaping to that sort of base is a whole other sort of ball game.

    • jonbarker a year ago

      I never said the word 'ignorant' nor did I say anyone was a fool. I said 'not understanding'. If someone doesn't understand chess, I don't call them a fool, I just point out they are not trained in chess. Also to your point about grains of rice, I think the world would probably benefit from everyone purchasing the optimal number of grains of rice, and eating that number of grains of rice. Food waste is a problem, as is the belief that 2 dollars here and there doesn't add up.

  • lr4444lr a year ago

    Overall yes, but each startup is unique, and requires work and certain character traits and developing one cultivates talents, skills, connections, and business intelligence.

    Each lottery ticket purchased is a no-skill crapshoot. People who are attracted to it tend to be looking for short cuts in life, not rolling up their sleeves for the hard and uncomfortable work of entrepreneurship. And unlike a startup, the lotto confers no personal benefits along the journey even when it fails.

    • throwawayjava a year ago

      The first part of your post is a great point. Building a startup, like studying hard in college, builds character/skills/talents/networks/knowledge that might be valuable to you in future endeavors.

      These traits 1) help soften the downside of "losing" the "startup lottery" (making it non-analogous to the actual lottery in pure mathematical terms). And 2) perhaps also might help explain any measured difference in outcomes between startup founders and lottery winners.

      But the "People who are attracted to it..." portion of your post doesn't seem necessarily true and is a pretty harsh/puritan attitude. Do you have any hard empirical data supporting these claims?

      Defore testing this claim, and for your own sake, we should investigate parent's original question: do we see a similar pattern with startup "winners"? Because if so, your reasoning here might have disturbing entailments for the entrepreneurial set ;-)

    • snoman a year ago

      That's a pretty strong, derisive, opinion to have for tens of millions of people you've never met.

xnet a year ago

In the UK, the National Lottery allows anonymous retrieval of the winnings and yet there is still a very large amount of trust that there is no fraudulent activity. The anonymity means you do not get financial advice from the lottery trust which seems like a pretty fair trade off.

  • oldcynic a year ago

    That is simply not true.

    Any UK winner can opt for anonymity when collecting their prize. The National Lottery give financial and legal advice regardless of your choice. Only around 20% opt for publicity.

    • drcode a year ago

      A cynic would say "only 20% are known for sure to not be fake identities of lottery administrators"

      • thaumasiotes a year ago

        The fact that there's a person with a different name than a lottery administrator shouldn't give you any additional confidence that that person isn't just a fake identity of the lottery administrator. Based on the stated facts, 0% are known for sure not to be fake identities of lottery administrators.

        For example, family members of giveaway administrators are generally prohibited from winning, but how are you supposed to know who they are?

tabeth a year ago

I honestly don't see the issue. The only reason the lotto works is because people know you can win and it's not rigged, and the only way you can know that is by making the winners public. Finally, the only reason said lottery was $XXXM is because of the people who tried and failed, funding it. I doubt lotteries would pay such large amounts long term if anonymous lotteries were standard as fraud is inevitable.

Being able to take half a billion dollars of free money anonymously and safely is hardly a right. I mean, you could simply not take it.

Seems fair to me. Am I missing something?

  • Erik816 a year ago

    The lottery works because people are driven by hope and are bad at (or don't care about) math. No one goes around verifying that the people who won the lottery actually get their money.

    Why would fraud be inevitable if you were allowed to form an anonymous trust before claiming your winnings? You still have to produce the winning ticket. What new vector for fraud does this open up? If the people running the lottery are corrupt, it wouldn't seem they need to use anonymous trusts to siphon off money.

    • tabeth a year ago

      I don't understand -- you already are allowed to form an anonymous trust. That's not the issue.

  • skywhopper a year ago

    Sure. It's also fair for her to challenge this clause given that the revelation of her win would probably completely destroy her existing relationships. It's fun to dream about winning hundreds of millions of dollars, but I'm glad this woman is taking the likely consequences of the win seriously and doing what she can to protect herself.

    Ultimately, state sponsored lotteries like this are a bad thing for everyone: the winners, the losers, the taxpayers, the government, and society at large. So if she can win this case and that in turn makes lotteries less popular or uneconomical, then that's a good thing for the culture.

    • oorza a year ago

      Why are they a bad thing for everyone? Obviously the players are almost universally worse off for playing, but don't they generate tax revenue and funnel money into places like schools?

      • thaumasiotes a year ago

        Lotteries are often dedicated to funding schools. But the schools were going to be funded anyway. What ends up happening is the lottery pays for its own staff, the school budget stays the same, and money that would have gone to schools goes elsewhere in the government budget. In this stylized example, is that extra money in the non-school budget funded by surplus from the lottery?

        What would it mean for the lottery to funnel money specifically into schools?

        • jstarfish a year ago

          The state lottery funded the scholarships that put me through school twice.

          Don't worry, the schools are getting their money.

  • gaius a year ago

    The only reason the lotto works is because people know you can win and it's not rigged, and the only way you can know that is by making the winners public

    You have seen The Running Man, right?

  • HeyLaughingBoy a year ago

    Yup. You're missing that she wants to have her cake and eat it too.

  • kneel a year ago

    >Seems fair to me. Am I missing something?

    Rules rarely apply to rich people.

  • bachmeier a year ago

    If the only way to prove the lottery is legit is to make the names of winners public, why not just make up a name?

    • eesmith a year ago

      Because, and I'll quote from article, "she signed her name on the back of the ticket shortly after winning, and altering the signature would nullify the ticket." That is, she could have formed an anonymous trust, but now it's too late.

      • thaumasiotes a year ago

        This is completely unrelated to the question you're supposedly responding to. Some people are advancing the argument that it serves an important societal interest to publish this woman's name. Specifically, it builds trust in the lottery by publicizing that somebody won.

        bachmeier is pointing out that you could accomplish this equally well by making up a name and publishing it as the lottery winner. The fact that somebody signed a ticket has no bearing on that.

        • eesmith a year ago

          I totally did not get that. I thought the suggestion was for the lottery winner to make up a name - an option which was no longer available.

          Even looking at it now, while I can see that interpretation, it doesn't come easily to mind.

          Thanks for pointing that out!

  • rhizome a year ago

    Being able to take half a billion dollars of free money anonymously and safely is hardly a right.

    This is such a loaded statement, in multiple ways, that I don't know where to start.

Waterluvian a year ago

My understanding is that the lotto wants free advertising at the cost of the winners being made very public.

It seems like this individual is doing a tremendous public service by taking this to court. I think most of us would balk at the risk of somehow losing the millions of dollars.

  • Pharylon a year ago

    The point of it is to avoid fraud.

    • Someone1234 a year ago

      The point of oversight is to avoid fraud. The point of releasing a name is for publicity and nothing else.

      How does releasing someone's name and location even avoid fraud within itself? It only works if people invade that individual's privacy (e.g. job, associations, etc).

    • Splines a year ago

      But how does making the winner's name public avoid fraud? I assume the government needs to look at something and say "looks legit". So couldn't they do that in private? Have some judge or gov't official put their stamp on it and say "yes, the winner was a real person not affiliated with the lottery" or whatever needs to happen.

      • giarc a year ago

        I think it's more unofficial than that. As other people have said in this thread, identifying the people publicly allows others to see their face, and see that they are real people. If it were simply "A judge has declared the winner legit" every time, people would get suspicious.

        • IntronExon a year ago

          Who cares if people are suspicious? People believe in chem trails and all kinds of crap, no one has to take a publicity hit to calm them.

          • ashelmire a year ago

            Yes, but governmental, judicial, and financial malfeasance do happen. And with this much money involved, there's basically a certainty that it would. Government-sponsored entities awarding millions of dollars to anonymous persons gets sketchy really quickly.

            • Splines a year ago

              If the fact that a name gets attached to the prize is the only thing stopping them, then they could easily make up a name and photoshop a picture. This feels like it's getting into conspiracy theory territory.

            • IntronExon a year ago

              ...But they are allowed to collect anonymously, this is over a technicality.

          • giarc a year ago

            Because if people are suspicious they stop buying tickets.

            • IntronExon a year ago

              Good, a tax on the uneducated, desperate, and mathematically illiterate is cruel and morally reprehensible to begin with. Propping it all up with publicity generated at the direct expense of the winners is pathetic.

              • HeyLaughingBoy a year ago

                What about those who are educated, successful and well versed in the mathematics of probability? They should be prevented from playing because you feel that some people should be protected from themselves?

                Or do we now need an IQ test before certain types of activities can be enjoyed?

                • icebraining a year ago

                  Who is talking about preventing anyone? All it's being said is that they won't get the name of the previous winners.

    • bonestamp2 a year ago

      They allow trusts though, so they just need to let her replace her signature with the name of a trust and everybody is happy.

    • make3 a year ago

      there are plenty of ways to avoid fraud without having to recall the identity to the public, the main being state auditing of all lotteries, which should probably happen anyways

      • dantillberg a year ago

        I believe the issue with state's auditing their own lotteries is that it still leaves a fair bit of room for public corruption. By declaring winners openly, it avails anyone among the public to research potential corrupt connections between lottery winners and lottery operators.

      • IncRnd a year ago

        A third party should audit the lottery, not the state. If the payouts are from a purchased annuity, this type of audit is almost certainly required - not the state auditing itself but a 3rd party auditor.

  • dingaling a year ago

    > My understanding is that the lotto wants free advertising

    What's free about it? They will advertise the win one way or another, just in this instance using a verifiable name of an individual.

    That might make the advertising more believable or relatable and effective but doesn't make it 'free'.

MrZongle2 a year ago

On one hand, I can understand the winner's desire to stay anonymous -- it has to be quite a magnet for every estranged relative and con-artist, not to mention any anxiety that may arise in the future when dealing with immediate family and friends when it comes to holidays, birthdays, and even a simple meal out.

And, on top of that, the stress of simply managing that amount of money so you don't end up as another "they blew it all" story about lottery winners.

That said: I wish I had her problem.

Most people probably would say the same. However, for a half-billion dollars I'd just assume that managing both the money and the people you have to interact with was my new job.

And, at some point...things would have to improve. You change your phone number. You change your address. You identify the moochers and the honest friends. You've hired a lawyer and a financial planner. And, on top of all that, you know that you and your loved ones won't want for food, shelter or health care. Ever. And that you can use some of your fortune to make a positive impact on your community, as you see fit.

I hope she wins her case, but if she doesn't...I'd still trade places with her in a hot minute.

zitterbewegung a year ago

I have a dissenting opinion to this and if you don't want to play by the rules of a game then you shouldn't play. The whole point of the rule is so that the State can advertise that someone won to make more participants in the lottery.

  • sp332 a year ago

    The rules explicitly allow her to accept the winnings anonymously, they only claim that she went about it the wrong way - by following the steps they gave her.

_trampeltier a year ago

I think it's a terrible thing to be fully named to the public. Some people say here, it would be necessary, so people could trust the lottery. BS. The winning could be faked also, so if you don't trust your lottery so don't play. On the other side .. if you win such amount of money, you will lose all your friends and family member anyway. Nobody can keep up with your new lifestyle. So you have to go to far away anyway. Bad luck or so ..

Somebody remember this .. Improbably Frequent Lottery Winners https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15262440

gumby a year ago

There's an important reason to make these winners public: to prevent corruption. Otherwise it would be easier to bad actors to direct lottery "winnings" to their friends or as bribes (of course it can still happen: https://www.quora.com/Did-Whitey-Bulger-really-win-the-lotte...)

This is the same reason why arrest records are public everywhere in the US: secret arrests are dangerous.

Of course this default-public provides opportunity for other kinds of abuse as well, but, at least in the lottery case, it's by definition opt in.

seanalltogether a year ago

I wonder if she can have her name legally changed prior to picking up the ticket, and then changed back afterwards. I'm not sure if the signature on the back matters in that case.

  • rapfaria a year ago

    I suppose people would recognize her from pictures anyways. She wants to protect her integrity and identity, not just the name.

keketi a year ago

Aren't court proceedings public record? Her name would come out that way even if she wins. Can she grant another person the authority to sue on her behalf and remain anonymous?

logfromblammo a year ago

I think the operator of a lottery-style gambling game has an obligation to publish its list of winners. It does not have an obligation to say how much they won.

This prevents the operator from simply saying someone has won and never paying out. In theory, you could go around to everyone on the list and ask them if they won a lottery prize. If anyone denies it, the operator might be pocketing prize money.

It is clear from the available evidence that publishing the amount that someone has won does harm to the winners. It becomes feedstock for a "people to rob or defraud" list. The same principle is applied to the secret ballot, wherein anyone can find out if you voted in an election or not, but they cannot know whom you voted for unless you tell them yourself. You can, of course, lie to them if you desire.

  Q: Ma'am, did you win the lottery this week?
  A: Yes.  My name is on the list, isn't it?
  Q: How much did you win?
  A: A dollar.
  Q: You didn't win the jackpot?
     That's a new car, isn't it?
  A: Of course not.
     I got a good deal on the financing, that's all.
  Q: And the 12-foot bronze statue of
     David Hasselhoff's Baywatch character?
  A: I found it at a dump.
  Q: Clearly, you also hired Peter Dinklage
     to dress up as Tyrion for your birthday party.
  A: That's just an enthusiastic cosplayer.
It's also difficult to enjoy being rich without making it glaringly obvious that you have money, so I'm not seeing any pressing need for the judge to anonymize this particular winner after the fact. It might be warranted for the state to look into legislation that places greater weight on the financial privacy of future winners.
Mankhool a year ago

Both her, and Shane Missler, who won the Mega Millions in January should just disappear. I think her problem is that she wants her life to remain largely the same. Well it can't and it won't. But a few hundred million dollars gives you plenty of opportunities to start over, at any age, and take care of your inner circle from wherever in the world you want to live.

  • msie a year ago

    I wonder how some people here make it out to be a huge hardship for the winner.

tompetry a year ago

I understand the desire to be anonymous, but things like this get out. While taking this route might benefit future winners, it will likely make her own situation worse via the "Streisand effect": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

  • tclancy a year ago

    The Streisand Effect would apply if her name was being bandied about because she was trying to suppress the news. That's not the case.

    • user5994461 a year ago

      And sending a request to a couple of newpapers to have your full name redacted will most likely just be done without further questioning.

  • rhizome a year ago

    This is essentially an argument against altruism.

jandrese a year ago

I'm surprised you can't set up a shell corporation to collect the winnings and then pay you a monthly salary or something. Probably not proof against the most sophisticated of account thieves, but it keeps your name out of the papers. Is part of the law that the person who bought the ticket must be the one to redeem it?

Or maybe just hire an accountant/lawyer to cash the ticket and transfer the funds to her account? I mean she's got the money now.

  • wil421 a year ago

    Read the other comments on the thread. It’s possible to sign it as a trust as they are legal entities. Also, she already signed so she can’t use the trust option otherwise the ticket becomes nullified.

DoreenMichele a year ago

I think this is a good argument for restructuring the lottery. From what I gather, the big jackpots used to be smaller and the small wins used to be more frequent. They changed how it works because the larger the payouts of the big jackpot, the more of a ticket buying frenzy you have.

Everyone actually wants to win. But not necessarily life changing amounts of money of this magnitude. We should go back to more small wins and smaller jackpots.

  • icebraining a year ago

    The Spanish Christmas Lottery (El Gordo de Navidad) has a curious system: rather than a different number per ticket, there are about 170 tickets with each number (it varies each year), and so the first prize is divided by them, which gives about 4M€ to each. But furthermore, each ticket is expensive (200€), so they sell tenths of each ticket individually.

    These tickets are also usually distributed sequentially, not randomly, so you end up with cases like a single village this December in which 50 winning tickets (=200M€) were sold to hundreds of persons (as tenths).

    Of course, it must be painful to live in the area and not have bought a ticket...

AngeloAnolin a year ago

I will bookmark this, and hopefully someone updates the story of what happened when the case has been settled.

On one side, you can see why the lady was asking for anonymity - exposing her could really endanger her life. She would be a target for anyone, who would want a piece of that $500 million dollars of reason. On the other side, you see that the state wants to advertise and use this as a marketing ploy to entice other people to play.

mc32 a year ago

I wonder if she can temp change her legal name, receive the winnings and then change back her legal name afterwards.

  • sharkweek a year ago

    This reminds me of a very, very complicated episode of 'Nathan For You' (a phenomenal show for those unfamiliar) - where he pays someone to legally change their name to a celebrity's name in order to open up a fake bank account with said name, then go into a restaurant and fake a "celebrity big tip" scheme to bring the restaurant some needed PR.

    But there's a snag! Nathan's lawyer lets him know he has to legally announce the name change in a circulated newspaper. This might draw attention to his scheme, right? So in order to get around that, he creates a fake newspaper, and circulates it around a handful of major cities for four weeks to make the name change announcement.


edf13 a year ago

Can't there be some way of trust/proxy setup to be used here? I'm available...

  • weaksauce a year ago

    She already signed the ticket with her name on it. Altering it to be signed by an anonymous trust would invalidate the ticket.

BrandoElFollito a year ago

Is this standard practice in the US (forcing people out anonymity when they win at the lottery), or is this in this state only?

Here in France you have the choice (the lottery is not even encouraging you that much to go public).

loorinm a year ago

Couldn’t she just set up a trust where she only gets a set income each year, and has no access to the rest? Wouldn’t that solve the problem of being a target for stealing/violence?

calvinbhai a year ago

Would it be possible to take the winnings non anonymously and immediately donate 100% to a ‘charity/foundation’ (that funnels money back to her at constant rate)?

  • gamblor956 a year ago

    Yes to the first part, no to the second as that would be tax evasion. She could put it all into a grantor trust (an asset holding entity which is not a charity or a foundation) which pays her an allowance at a constant rate.

    • IncRnd a year ago

      Actually, the second part is very legal and is done all the time. In fact, people who donate large sums to University and other charitable causes do just that, receiving payments in return.

      FYI, when politicians say they donated XYZ to their personal foundation or trust, this is many times what has happened.

      • gamblor956 a year ago

        A charitable trust is not a charitable organization for tax purposes but can receive deductible donations. It cannot send money back to donors. A foundation generally is a charitable organization and can receive deductible donations, and similarly cannot send money back to donors.

        In fact, people who donate large sums to University and other charitable causes do just that, receiving payments in return.

        Citation needed. What you have described is not a donation, and would indeed be a violation of the University's fiduciary responsibility with respect to donations. The consequence is generally that the University would lose its non-profit exemption. Most likely, you are conflating a contribution to a family trust with a contribution to a charitable trust. Transfers to a family trust can be revoked, and the trust can pay money back to its grantors or trustees because it's not a charitable organization and does not have a charitable purpose. A grant to a charitable trust is irrevocable, and cannot go back to the donor.

        • IncRnd a year ago

          That's a lot of words for, "I don't believe you." A citation is needed for your assertion, please.

          Here is a page at the University of Chicago that describes how that university implements charitable gift annuities.


          • gamblor956 a year ago

            Charitable gift annuities don't have the result you describe. For starters, they're only partially deductible, and you have to pay taxes on income earned by the annuity. In effect, a lottery winner would pay taxes twice: first on winning the income, and then when receiving money from the annuity (because a partial charitable deduction wouldn't offset the annuity income and for a gift in the millions would be capped anyway).

            • IncRnd a year ago

              > Charitable gift annuities don't have the result you describe.

              Really? They have exactly the results I described. In what way do they differ from what I wrote?

              Charitable Gift Annuities are not theoretical, despite you having gone from protestations that Universities would go out of business for engaging in them, to now saying that I wrote things I didn't.

              P.S. A deferred annuity for a lottery is an entirely different product from a charitable gift annuity.

  • stickydink a year ago

    Sure, you can do what you want with the money, right? But that doesn't solve the problem of her name being public.

  • vpribish a year ago

    the point is that everyone would know that she is now rich.

blitzo a year ago

The lottery should provide 2 options:

- Public + full money

- Anonymous + half money

Win-win for both parties.

United857 a year ago

She can likely afford some pretty good security with her winnings.

Her problem is not unique; any wealthy celebrity has had to deal with the same after all.

  • vinceguidry a year ago

    Security is extremely difficult to buy safely if you are an un-savvy purchaser.

nodesocket a year ago

I never understood why they require you to release your name and picture.

I would attempt and wear a costume or mask to the announcement event if I won.

yuhong a year ago

There is a story on /r/teslamotors about winning a Tesla. I wonder if Tesla itself knows who was the winner now.

m3kw9 a year ago

Remaining anonymous goes a long way to help you keeping sane and your friends and family intact

dawhizkid a year ago

I wonder what happened to the 20yo from Florida who won a few months ago

kingkawn a year ago

Take the money buy a new identity, wa la!

  • bonestamp2 a year ago

    She could. I think the point is that she likes her friends and wants to keep them.

  • criddell a year ago

    I think you meant to say voila (or voilà).

draw_down a year ago

Presumably that rule was in place when she played, so I don't see why she should win. Even if I sympathize with the desire to not have all of humanity know you're now worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

akuqnawa a year ago

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msie a year ago

Too bad, so sad. Potential top 1% problems. I live from paycheque to paycheque. I have no sympathy for her. Why did she play in the first place?

  • ryanianian a year ago

    The point isn't to have sympathy for her. The point is to call out violations of privacy for anyone - no matter how much money they have.

    • msie a year ago

      Really? She knew what she was getting into. No one is forcing her to play the lottery.

      • ryanianian a year ago

        I don't think she did know what she was getting into or else she wouldn't have signed the back with her name. I didn't know you basically had to get outed or setup an anonymous trust etc.

        If nothing else, this story and court-case will make this information more commonly-known. Before/when you win millions, setup a trust and let the trust do the winning.

        • msie a year ago

          She still has the choice to refuse the money. She can't have both in this case. Sometimes the world isn't fair. I really wish to hear other people talk about the "threats to liberty this entails" because I'm being down-voted to oblivion.

    • fourstar a year ago

      You play the game. You accept the rules. That's how it works. You ever use Google? You are complying to their TOS.

      • ryanianian a year ago

        You're right, but the fact is she could have been anonymous if she'd known about "this one weird trick to maintain your privacy" (i.e. setting up a trust).

        Cases like this (1) call out non-obvious legal stipulations for the majority of us that don't read/understand every bullet-point of a TOS and (2) question the legality of such stipulations.

  • MachinShinn- a year ago

    Your lack of emotional depth is one of the many reasons you will likely remain out of the 1% wealth cohort. Best of luck.

yohann305 a year ago

What a great problem to have!

pmarreck a year ago

Giving the winnings in a cryptocurrency would both preserve anonymity (pseudonymity?) and permit audit of the winnings.

  • jsymolon a year ago

    Given all the issues in regards to exchanges i.e. fraud, theft and relative difficulty in getting out, I wouldn't trust cryptocurrency at all.

    • pmarreck a year ago

      What you don't realize are that your arguments here are actually anti-noncryptocurrency.

      Transactions done only in the cryptocurrency have no such disadvantages, at all. Those are all issues with conversion to and from fiat, and thus arguments against fiat.

      At some point, maybe not with Bitcoin, maybe not with Ether, but at some point, there will be a tipping point. Probably with the next country whose fiat fails (venezuela?)

      • jsymolon a year ago

        Not sure what to say to that other than the Kool-aid must be good.

        Here's the thing, i want to be able to pay bills and be relatively insured against losing to a con man.

        Currency must be boring, reliable, trustworthy. Examples of the Wiemar Republic Mark, Zimbabwe Dollar and other examples of hyper-inflation are reasons why it must be consistent. Not 10,000 one day and 8,000 the next. That's gambling.

        Right now CC is a non-starter as i can't get my daily needs met using it. It's a pyramid scheme full of shysters and people trying to get rich quick.

        How do you vet that an exchange won't pull something ?

        I want a boring finances. Yes there are issues with fiat but i can go, put a dollar in, come back and still have a dollar. Not 0 and some excuse "hacked!".


  • kbutler a year ago

    And suddenly the principals of the lottery company start spending huge amounts of cash...

    • pmarreck a year ago

      Which would also be visible on the blockchain. Depending on the cryptocurrency. Not too hard to sign an address to prove it's yours.

      • kbutler a year ago

        If you can identify the recipient, then it doesn't provide privacy. If you can't identify the recipient, it is open to fraud by the principals.

brk a year ago

Given the size of the prize involved, it seems like she could have had a duplicate "winning ticket" made, sans signature on the back. This would have had to have been done before all the publicity about the signed ticket though.

Even with watermarks, etc., the cost to manufacture an exact replica ticket couldn't be more than a few thousand dollars. Even if it were $100K to buy some specialized equipment, it would still seem like a worthwhile investment.

  • IncRnd a year ago

    Manufacturing a false winning ticket would be a sure route not to get paid.

    • cestith a year ago

      More to the point, it would be an excellent way to earn about a dime per hour the next dozen years or so, but with housing and food provided.

  • bonestamp2 a year ago

    Too risky. Surely they have unrevealed security measures to detect fraudulent tickets.