What Happens To Lottery Winners (Stay Anonymous)!

anonymous lottery winnersEver wondered what happens to lottery winners who choose the publicity option?

Here’s a reminder why you should not get too carried away sharing the excitement of your big win…

A group of 30 factory workers and craftmen from Avellino in Italy won 33 Million Euros on Italy’s SuperEnaLotto in January 2008.

Now winners are normally anonymous in Italy anyway. But the SuperEnaLotto syndicate were obviously very happy with their win and were not quiet about it.

Unfortunately their good fortune reached the ears of the local Camorra crime clan, who asked around to find out the identities of the lucky winners – and then paid them all a visit. Not surprisingly they were successful in extracting 40,000 Euros out of a good number of them, presumably to help with their protection.

Avellino prosecutor Rosario Cantelmo said that police learnt of the pay-outs while investigating extortion rackets against other local businesses. Five suspects were arrested.

So when the day of your big win arrives, and the lottery company asks you to do a press conference, appear on TV or in a newspaper advert… say no and stay anonymous. Have a party to celebrate but don’t announce to the world why. Your life as a big winner will be a lot smoother.

Otherwise you too may find out what happens to lottery winners…

27 Comments so far ↓

  • Jason

    I have been studying the lottery for almost 20 years, and winners always say they can handle it but few do. The lucky ones learn from their mistakes before they spend everything. Others were prepared by either their personality or career to handle such a large sum.

    Alas the common effect is that they lose a lot learning and it creates rifts within their family or close relationships that continue long after the win, sometimes permanent.

    It’s extreme but I’d put the winners through a 6 week course of financial management before they can pick up their check, no buying anything and only having an income while they learn… help them help themselves.

    • LG

      It does come down to financial sense. Maybe winners could be tested on that, and strongly recommended to take a course if they fail!

      Don’t be fooled by the media though. The vast majority of lottery winners do NOT lose it all.

      If you think about how many jackpot winners there are all over world every single week, going back years. And compare that with the occasional ‘lottery winner loses it all’ story.

      Bad news stories get more press, so they always seem bigger than they are.

      My advice – stop spending money on depressing newspapers, and buy some extra lottery tickets instead 🙂

      • Jason

        Oh I know the vast majority don’t lose it all. But they do lose a lot of money learning what they could have known from day one.

        Some people leave the money in one account in their bank which can be OK for them. Unless as recently their bank goes belly up and they only have the right to get $250,000 back.

        Some become the family ATM and become resentful for it. Some fund educations and then every member of their close or extended family thinks of them as the family scholorship fund. Relatives come for vacations to their nice home, and then the winner needs a team of horses to drag them back out.

        These things and more have happened. Sometimes it’s buying too big a house and they feel like a pea in a drum. All sorts of things that financial managers and therapists could help them deal with, I just listed the financial side but it’s as much mental.

        When the UK lottery started they had a team of experts to help the winners of large amounts, America doesn’t have that.

        With the lottery here, your cash is chopped by 2/3 for tax, it takes weeks to get the money and the media is a lot more extreme. With the UK Lotto, no taxes and you get the money in a week or two.

        Lots of money sounds great. But the fact you got thrown in at the deep end makes it harder to learn to swim.

  • Harvey

    What I want is to win a lottery so I can be just like Bill Gates – throw away all my chairs and just sit on my wallet. Ba-da-bing!

  • Harvey

    Here’s the rule from the OLG Site:

    7. Must all winners have their names published?
    The publishing of winners is important in demonstrating the integrity of our lottery games… This is necessary for us to demonstrate that people do win… For every prizewinner there are a number of other players who did not win but have a legitimate desire to know that someone won.

    Any suggestions to preserve anonymity? I’ve read of begging letters, emails and even threats of kidnapping that big winners have been flooded with.

    • LG

      Isn’t it funny how some lottery companies claim it’s essential for integrity – yet others, such as the UK Lotto preserve your right to anonymity. And they clearly don’t have any problems with their integrity!

      It’s purely about marketing and profits of course. They sell more tickets if they can parade the big winners in front of the media.

      My advice would be to boycott their games if they won’t allow winners the choice to stay anonymous. You can play in other countries lotteries quite easily when you play in an online lottery syndicate, or buy tickets online (not the best value for money, but an option).

  • Harvey

    Unfortunately, Credit Card companies in Canada won’t allow purchase of lottery tickets, even as part of a syndicate.

    And Canadian lotteries often have pretty big jackpots.

    • LG

      If you can’t persuade your card company to remove the block (so you can spend your money how you wish!) – then boycott them too 🙂

      You can always use Moneybookers (similar to Paypal). Takes a little setting up, but plain sailing from there.

  • Jason

    I don’t know if people get the ability to stay anonymous in the UK. When the first big winner of the lottery there won the press offered 10k for their name then printed it. You only get privacy if you’re not interesting enough to the media.

    You need some seriously good lawyers, and a willingness to drop everything and lie to your back teeth to not get found out if you’re a big winner.

    • LG

      If you win a real headline grabber of a jackpot – such as the recent big EuroMillions – then it would definitely be hard to avoid being out’ed. [Although with a £161 Million they will be able to afford a particularly good lawyer, so we’ll see on that one 🙂 ]

      But as there have been so many ‘million or two’ winners now, I think most are now not interesting enough to pursue. After all, you get two millionaires a week in the UK now just from the EuroMillions Raffle. And there are still a fair number of jackpot winners still quite happy to say ‘yes’ to the publicity, even when given the choice!

      • Jason

        The British lottery does give you the chance of privacy as you’re allowed to be unidentified. But you have to either get out of your area and into an area where people are used to money moving in without asking question, or emigrate. Which isn’t always easy either as you have to state your net worth when you emigrate to prove you have enough money to be able to look after yourself for at least one year.

        Either could draw some questions to make sure the money was legally gained, and someone could make that public knowledge.

        Also it might fly in some gated estate in California or Miami to have someone arrive overnight richer then most. But other residents will be asking where the money came from or assuming British citizen/lots of money, no experience of having lots of money (they do stand out).

        So remaining anonymous isnt easy, without your family knowing it’s like going into witsec.

        Here you get to wear makeup and even have lawyers collect for you but still the afterwards can be difficult. Everyone assumes you made your money from the lottery or illegally when you won’t discuss it.

        Better to have people know then move away as its almost certainly going to ruin your present town for you and others (people knocking at your door, driving by at 3am beeping their horns, stopping you in the street, local charities wanting ever more funds, churches wanting you to pay for their next steeple, etc, etc, etc) and all that can annoy your neighbors even if the money doesnt bother them, the constant line of people wanting your money or friendship or both.

        Perhaps this is one reason why so many winners never come forward, that such a shock to their lives isn’t worth it.

        A recent winner being the son of a hotel mogul has brought out the nasties in lots of people. Maybe someone with a past they don’t want the light of day on thinks its better to rip up the ticket than have to answer some serious questions.

  • Silvia Graebner

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