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Big Winners In West Virginia Can Now Remain Anonymous

Big Winners In West Virginia Can Now Remain Anonymous

West Virginia lottery winners of $1 million or more can now remain anonymous, providing they relinquish five percent of their winnings. This new ruling was only effective from 1st January 2019, so find out more below about how you can protect your identity in The Mountain State, if you wish to do so.

What You Need to Know

Prior to 1st January 2019, if you won the lottery in West Virginia, you were unable to remain anonymous, regardless of how much you won. You had to go public, but under new laws brought in at the start of the year, you now have the option of choosing anonymity. West Virginia House Bill 2982 states that if you have won at least $1 million, you can keep your name and personal contact information private. However, this only happens if you give up five percent of your winnings to the State Lottery Fund.

There are several ways you can request anonymity if you win $1 million or more:

  • Contact West Virginia’s State Lottery Director in writing at the following address: West Virginia State Lottery Director, P.O. Box 2067, Charleston, West Virginia 25327.
  • Visit the state’s lottery headquarters in person to request anonymity. The address is 900 Pennsylvania Ave, Charleston, WV 25302, and it is open from Monday to Friday between 08:00 CT to 17:00 CT.
  • Visit the West Virginia Lottery's website, where the process is outlined in more detail.

A lottery representative will then contact you to make all the necessary arrangements. This is to confirm the legitimacy of your winning ticket prior to being granted anonymity. You will then be required to remit five percent of your winnings to complete the process.

Anonymity Only Applies to Winners Over $1 Million

Lottery players throughout West Virginia can enter a range of state-specific and nationwide lotteries, including Powerball, and the new anonymity rule is applicable to big winners in all games. You cannot remain anonymous if you have won under $1 million, and your identity will still automatically be made public when you collect your prize.

Since 1986, roughly $10 billion has been given to the State Lottery Fund, which is used for public education programs in West Virginia and improving life for senior citizens, as well as aiding the Division of Tourism, Division of Natural Resources and State Park Improvement Fund. The money has helped the public education sector with the construction and maintenance of schools, as well as providing university and college scholarships.

Publicity or Anonymity

In states such as West Virginia where you have the option between going public and remaining anonymous, the choice can be a difficult one to make. There are arguments for and against both options, but it is up to the winner to decide which option is best for them. Anonymity allows you to remain out of the public spotlight. This can also dispel the threat from criminals, but going anonymous means you will have to shoulder the burden of keeping your win a secret.

Going public, on the other hand, is deemed to be a requirement by many Powerball participating states, who ensure winners have to go public to increase coverage of the game and show that it is played fairly and transparently. There are also certain states that allow you to claim your prize money through a trust, which is another way of maintaining a degree of anonymity.

Page Last Updated: 3/8/2019 3:43:40 PM