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Does Missouri have anonymous lottery winners?

Winning the lottery can be life changing, but it also comes with unwanted publicity. Many lottery winners prefer to remain anonymous so they can maintain their privacy and safety. But can lottery winners in Missouri claim their prize anonymously? Let’s take a look at Missouri’s lottery laws to find out.

Can lottery winners remain anonymous in Missouri?

Yes, lottery winners can remain anonymous in Missouri. In 2020, Missouri passed a state law allowing lottery winners to keep their identity confidential. Prior to this law change, the names and hometowns of lottery winners were considered public record.

The new Missouri law allows lottery winners to request anonymity if their prize is over $5,000. To claim a prize anonymously, the winner must request anonymity in writing and present their ticket in person at a Missouri Lottery office. The lottery will then confirm the winner’s identity confidentially.

If the winner chooses anonymity, their name, hometown, and any other identifying details will be kept confidential by the Missouri Lottery. Only the prize amount will be announced publicly. However, the Missouri Lottery may still use the winner’s name, photo, and story for publicity purposes if their identity is concealed.

Why did Missouri change the law to allow anonymous winners?

There were a few key reasons Missouri changed the law regarding lottery winner anonymity:

  • Protect winners’ safety and privacy: Revealing winners’ identities made them targets for harassment, scams, unwanted publicity, and even violence. Allowing anonymity helps winners avoid these risks.
  • Encourage more people to play the lottery: Some individuals were deterred from playing the lottery because they did not want their identity revealed if they won. Anonymity makes the prospect of winning more appealing.
  • Follow other states: At the time of the law change, at least 10 other states already allowed anonymous lottery winners, including Kansas, Iowa, and Arkansas. The change brought Missouri in line with these nearby states.

Proponents argued that revealing winners’ names infringed on their privacy rights. Overall, the change aimed to protect the safety and interests of lottery winners in Missouri.

What are the requirements to claim a prize anonymously?

To claim a Missouri Lottery prize of over $5,000 anonymously, the winner must take the following steps:

  1. Request anonymity in writing: The winner must submit a written request for anonymity to the Missouri Lottery. This request should include the winner’s full name, contact information, and signature.
  2. Present the winning ticket: The winner must present the original winning ticket in person at one of the Missouri Lottery claim centers within the required claim timeframe.
  3. Verify identity confidentially: The lottery will then confidentially verify the winner’s identity and ensure they are the rightful holder of the winning ticket.
  4. Sign paperwork using anonymity: The winner will complete all required lottery paperwork using their anonymity. The claim form will be kept confidential.

Following these steps allows the Missouri Lottery to confirm and pay out the prize to the rightful ticket holder while protecting their identity. Lottery staff are required to keep winners’ identities confidential under Missouri law.

What information is kept anonymous?

When a Missouri Lottery winner claims a prize anonymously, the following personal details are kept confidential:

  • Name
  • Hometown
  • Place of employment
  • Photographs showing identifying features
  • Interviews that may reveal identity
  • Details about Winner’s family, occupation, or personal life

Any details that could potentially identify the winner cannot be shared publicly by the Missouri Lottery. Only generic, non-identifying details may be announced, such as the winner’s gender or age range.

However, the prize amount won and the name of the specific lottery game are still announced publicly. Retailers who sold the winning ticket are also permitted to publicize that fact, but they cannot share the winner’s identity.

Can lottery winners in Missouri ever be identified?

In most cases, lottery winners in Missouri who request anonymity remain anonymous forever. However, there are a few rare scenarios where their identity could be revealed:

  • Court order: If required by a court order, such as during an investigation or legal proceeding, the lottery may have to reveal a winner’s identity.
  • Winner goes public: The lottery has no control if an anonymous winner later decides to voluntarily reveal themselves publicly.
  • Lottery error: In the unlikely event of a mistake or technical issue, a winner’s identity could accidentally be revealed by the lottery.

Outside of these types of situations, the Missouri Lottery takes winners’ privacy very seriously. Lottery staff must sign confidentiality agreements promising not to disclose anonymous winners’ identities.

Has anyone in Missouri claimed a prize anonymously?

Since the new anonymity law went into effect in August 2020, there have been a handful of winners in Missouri who claimed lottery prizes anonymously. Here are a few examples:

  • In April 2021, an anonymous winner claimed a $3 million Scratchers prize.
  • In November 2021, a $1 million Powerball prize was claimed anonymously.
  • In June 2022, an anonymous winner won a $1.1 million Mega Millions prize.
  • In September 2022, a $50,000 Scratchers prize was claimed anonymously.

While major jackpots still tend to be claimed publicly for promotional purposes, Missouri’s anonymity option allows smaller prize winners to keep their identities private. Lottery officials predict even more anonymous winners going forward.

How does anonymous prize claiming work logistically?

Claiming a lottery prize anonymously requires some additional logistical steps compared to a public claim. Here is a look at how it works:

  • The winner contacts the lottery to inform them they wish to claim their prize anonymously. Lottery staff explain the procedures.
  • The winner selects a designated trusted individual to act as their public representative if needed. This person’s identity can also be kept confidential.
  • The lottery coordinates a confidential in-person meeting with the winner, where staff can verify their identity and ticket.
  • The winner completes and signs the claim paperwork, including an affidavit declaring their request for anonymity, using only their anonymity.
  • Lottery staff keep all documents and details confidential per legal requirements.
  • If the winner needs to be part of promotions, their identity is concealed (ex. costumed appearance).

Coordinating with an anonymous winner requires additional steps, planning, and secrecy on the lottery’s behalf. But they are obligated to follow through on anonymity requests under Missouri law.

What are the benefits of remaining anonymous?

Here are some of the key benefits Missouri lottery winners can receive by keeping their identity secret:

  • Privacy: They avoid public scrutiny and unwanted attention on their personal lives.
  • Safety: Anonymity protects them and their family from security threats, harassment, scams and crimes targeting lottery winners.
  • Normalcy: Keeping their identity private allows them to maintain a more normal life.
  • Control: Winners have greater control over who knows about their money and when/how they share the news.
  • Freedom: Anonymity gives winners freedom in spending their money without public judgement.

For many winners, the benefits of maintaining their privacy and personal security outweigh any reasons for going public with their win. Anonymity can protect both a winner’s safety and sanity.

What are the downsides of remaining anonymous?

There are a few potential downsides to consider for lottery winners weighing anonymity:

  • No publicity: The lottery can’t use their name/story for press and publicity. This may make promotions less personal.
  • Secrecy challenges: Keeping such a monumental secret can be difficult long-term personally and professionally.
  • Tax complications: Financial and legal experts warn that anonymity can complicate taxes, estate planning, and more.
  • Public suspicion: Some may view anonymous winners as distrustful if their identity is concealed.

There are certainly challenges that come with remaining anonymous. But most experts agree the benefits outweigh the drawbacks for those who wish to maintain their privacy. Lottery winners should carefully weigh both sides.

Does the public know when a Missouri lottery prize is claimed anonymously?

Yes, when a major Missouri lottery prize is claimed anonymously, it is communicated publicly. Typically, the Lottery will issue a press release and announce the anonymous win on social media.

The announcement will share details such as:

  • The game the prize was won on
  • The prize amount
  • The retail location where the ticket was sold
  • The date the ticket was purchased/claimed

However, the winner’s name, hometown, and any identifying details will be listed as “anonymous” or redacted. The lottery will simply announce an anonymous winner has come forward to claim the prize.

Do other states allow lottery winners to remain anonymous?

Yes, the majority of U.S. states now allow lottery winners to remain anonymous to some extent. Here is a table summarizing the policies in each state regarding lottery winner anonymity:

State Anonymity Allowed?
Alabama No
Alaska Yes
Arizona Varies by game
Arkansas Yes
California Yes
Colorado No
Connecticut Yes
Delaware Yes
Florida Yes
Georgia Yes
Hawaii Yes
Idaho Yes
Illinois No
Indiana Yes
Iowa Yes
Kansas Yes
Kentucky Yes
Louisiana Yes
Maine No
Maryland No
Massachusetts No
Michigan Yes
Minnesota Yes
Mississippi No
Missouri Yes
Montana Yes
Nebraska Yes
Nevada Yes
New Hampshire Yes
New Jersey Yes
New Mexico No
New York Varies by game
North Carolina No
North Dakota Yes
Ohio Yes
Oklahoma Varies by game
Oregon No
Pennsylvania Yes
Rhode Island No
South Carolina Yes
South Dakota No
Tennessee No
Texas Yes
Utah No
Vermont Yes
Virginia No
Washington Yes
West Virginia Yes
Wisconsin No
Wyoming Yes

As the table shows, the majority of states allow for winner anonymity, at least on certain games. But some states still prohibit anonymity entirely. The policies vary greatly across the country.

States that allow anonymity

States that permit anonymous winners generally do so to protect winners’ safety and privacy. States like Kansas, Delaware, Minnesota, and New Hampshire allow winners to form a trust to claim their prize anonymously. A few states allow anonymity only on prizes above a certain threshold.

States that don’t allow anonymity

States that prohibit anonymity often argue public disclosure ensures openness and transparency in the lottery system. States like Oregon, Wisconsin, Utah, and North Carolina make all winner names and information public record regardless of winners’ preference.

Debate continues around anonymity policies, but the overall trend has been toward more state lotteries allowing for anonymous winners compared to past decades.

Can lottery retailers or employees remain anonymous if they win?

In most states, lottery retailers and employees are required to be identified publicly if they win the lottery, even if regular players can remain anonymous. This policy aims to avoid any perception of internal fraud or misconduct.

However, in Missouri, retailers and employees can also request anonymity just like regular players. Their employment with the Lottery is not disclosed unless they choose to. The only exception is if their prize is won on a game they directly worked on selling or promoting.

Keeping retailers anonymous aligns with Missouri’s overall priority of protecting player privacy. Employees still undergo the same verification process anonymously to ensure no improper activity occurred.


Winning the lottery can be a blessing and a burden. While coming into sudden money is exciting, unwanted publicity, attention, and harassment can quickly become a nightmare.

Missouri allows lottery winners to avoid this downside by remaining anonymous. As long as winners properly request anonymity, the Missouri Lottery will comply under state law.

Anonymity helps winners maintain their personal safety and privacy during such a vulnerable life change. While anonymity has some drawbacks, the opportunity to protect one’s identity makes playing the lottery more appealing to many Missourians.

Missouri Lottery winners at all levels, from $5,000 up to multi-million jackpots, can benefit from anonymity. If you are lucky enough to win big, weigh your options carefully and consult experts to determine if anonymity is right for your situation.