A new bill in Michigan would allow winners of Mega Millions and Powerball to remain anonymous.
Currently, winners of Michigan Lottery games can remain anonymous, but not winners of the multi-state games. Just weeks ago, a winning ticket to a whopping $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot was sold in Michigan. The winner or group of winners hasn’t come forward yet.
House Bill 4218 is mostly backed by state Republicans, but it has some Democratic support as well.
Pros and cons of proposed law
The drawback to letting winners remain anonymous is a lack of transparency for the public. Lotteries can be corrupted. The argument for such a law is to protect winners from potential harm and harassment.
“This is all about providing safety and ensuring winners of these types of games do not receive unwanted, possibly dangerous attention,” state Rep. Pat Outman said in a statement. “The bill would allow those who win the lottery to have the choice to keep their identities anonymous. Allowing a privacy option gives people a more secure feeling and does not leave them open to harassment or a flood of requests for funds, loans, or donations.”
He added that “several other states allow winners to remain anonymous, and, in my opinion, it’s time Michigan allow this option as well.”
The identity of winners would be shielded from the Freedom of Information Act.
It’s unclear if the law, if passed, could be applied retroactively to the recent Mega Millions winner, who still has months to claim the massive prize.
Similar legislation has been tried in the past, but hasn’t gained enough traction in Lansing.
— James G. Hill (@JGHillfreep) May 14, 2015