Can You Stay Anonymous After Winning the Lottery in Texas?

A lucky resident of Seguin had the only winning Lotto Texas ticket in the draw on September 20, 2020, and claimed a prize of $47 million. At the time, that jackpot was the second-largest lottery prize up for grabs in the world and the largest Lotto Texas prize available since 2010.

The lucky winner chose the "cash value" option, taking home $39,767,339.23. We will never know who they are because the winner chose to remain anonymous.

Yes, lottery winners can remain anonymous in Texas. Your personal details will not be made public if you win the Powerball jackpot or another huge lottery prize. This wasn’t always possible in Texas.

Are Texas Lottery Winners’ Identities Made Public?

In the past, identifying details of the Texas Lottery's biggest winners were always made public. That is why we know that Alfredo Ornelas Barragan won a $145 million Lotto Texas jackpot in June 2004, despite being described in the media at the time as a "publicity-shy El Paso man".

When a Katy resident won a $144 million Mega Millions jackpot in January 2010, Lottery officials identified him as William Kiefer. They added that he was a "really good man with a big heart," when Kiefer announced he would donate 60 percent of his after-tax winnings to charity.

Texas Lottery Commission offices

Can Texas Lottery Winners Remain Anonymous?

The 85th Texas Legislature's regular session in 2017 enacted HB 59 authorizing certain prize winners who win lottery prizes in the amount of $1 million or more to choose to remain anonymous. The legislation did not refer to winners of prizes less than $1 million.

In the wake of this legislation, the Texas Lottery Commission (TLC) issued Rule §401.324, which protects lottery winners’ privacy by allowing them to remain anonymous and prohibit all personally identifiable information from being released to the public. The rule does not prevent the TLC from disclosing city or county of residence of certain lottery prize winners.

According to HB 59 and TLC Rule §401.324, in lottery winners’ claims (starting January 1, 2018), eligibility to remain anonymous applies to a “natural person (individual) who is a winner of a lottery prize of $1 million (non-annuity) or more” as well as a “natural person (individual) who is a beneficial interest owner of a legal entity winner of a lottery prize of $1 million (non-annuity) or more”.

If a lottery winner “chooses to receive periodic installment payments (annuity), the prohibition on releasing the winner’s name lasts only until the 30th day after the person claims the lottery prize,” according to the TLC rules.

How Do You Claim Lottery Winnings Anonymously in Texas?

According to TLC rules, winners of lottery prizes in an amount equal to $1 million or more, must specify their desire to remain anonymous “on the appropriate TLC claim form when they claim their prize.”

The Texas Lottery Winner Claim Form for use by individual claimants for prizes of $1 million or more includes a required field asking for the winner's decision on whether to retain their anonymity or not.

Can You Stay Anonymous After Winning the Lottery in Texas?

An Electra resident claimed a second-tier Mega Millions prize worth $1 million for the drawing on February 12, 2021. The ticket was purchased at Allsups #102378, located at 601 W. Front Ave., in Electra. The claimant elected to remain anonymous, the Texas Lottery announced.

In another example, a Houston resident claimed a jackpot-winning Texas Two Step prize worth $2.15 million for the drawing on March 15, 2021. The ticket was purchased at Winners Corner TX LLC., located at 7817 Rockwood Lane (Suite 101B), in Austin. The claimant elected to remain anonymous, according to a Texas Lottery press release.

These are just two examples of Texas Lottery anonymous winners, and there will undoubtedly be many more in the years to come.

A growing number of states allow their lottery winners to remain anonymous, and many of them don’t limit this to prize winnings over a certain amount. Lottery winners in Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, and Virginia, are allowed to retain their privacy, while Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont, are willing to pay out winnings to a trust, from which players can withdraw their money. Additional states are in the process of enacting similar legislation.

Should You Remain Anonymous When You When the Lottery?

We know that winning a lottery is very exciting, and like many winners, you may be eager to share news of your good fortune with family and friends. But maybe it's safer to protect your privacy and stay out of the limelight. Winners should seek the advice of professional advisors and determine what is best for them.

At theLotter Texas, we ensure that buying lottery tickets online is safe and the privacy of our players is respected. When you win the lottery, your full name and/or image will not be used in our promotions and website unless your permission has been granted, regardless of the Texas Lottery's policies of announcing lottery winners.

Good luck playing the lottery online in Texas!