Can You Remain Anonymous If You Win The New York State Lottery?
So last weekend, I'm in line at my local mini-mart waiting to pay for my food. As I'm standing there, I could hear the person in front of me talking to the cashier waiting on him. He was commenting on how if he could just win the lottery then everything would be alright in his life.
My thought was "If he's not content with what he has now, he won't be content for long with what he gets." That ended up prompting another conversation with a friend of mine. If I were to win the lottery, could I remain anonymous?
Can I Remain Anonymous If I Win The New York State Lottery?
The quick answer is: No, you cannot remain anonymous...but there is a way around it. More on that in a moment.
There are 11 states that allow winners to keep their identity concealed, but New York is not one of them.
There are arguments for both sides on whether or not, you SHOULD be allowed to remain anonymous. Politicians will tell you that there is a need for transparency and to make sure that the state isn't pocketing any of the jackpots.
Almost everyone else will say that the individuals rights outweigh the need for transparency. We've all heard stories about people winning the lottery and then the phone doesn't stop ringing and everyone is asking for money.
When Do I Need To Reveal My Identity?
Under current law, if your lottery winnings are $5,000 or more, you have to reveal your identity to claim your prize. However, in 2018, the New York Senate approved a bill that would keep your name a secret if you made a request to the state Gaming Commission.
That bill was vetoed by then New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. He stated that by being transparent, the public would know that there was an actual winner and the State wasn't simply putting the money in its own coffers. Hmm, okay if you say so.
How To (Kind of) Remain Anonymous If You Won The New York State Lottery
So how do you get around it? You would create a limited liability company (LLC) on your behalf to claim your prize. Then the LLC would be the winner and not the individual. So it can be done but it won't be easy.