We May Never Know Who Won the Mega Millions Jackpot

Unlike many states, Illinois allows big winners to remain anonymous
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2022 2:02 AM CDT
We May Never Know Who Won the Mega Millions Jackpot
Manuel R. Mart?nez selects numbers to play before buying Mega Millions lottery tickets at Ernie's Liquors in Palo Alto, Calif., Friday, July 29, 2022.   (AP Photo/Godofredo A. V?squez)

(Newser) – Many states offer lottery jackpot winners no option for privacy—but Illinois, where the winner of the Mega Millions $1.337 billion jackpot lives, does. Because of that, we may never know who just won the second-largest Mega Millions jackpot ever (and the third-biggest jackpot of any lottery). As NPR reports, an increasing number of states are moving to grant privacy rights to big lottery winners, but in most states, the information becomes public record. "State and provincial lawmakers want the public to know that the lottery is honestly run and so require that at a minimum the name of the winner and their city of residence be made public," says one nonprofit trade organization for lotteries.

In Illinois, however, winners of jackpots over $250,000 can request that information be kept secret. Arizona recently implemented a similar policy, and the director of the Arizona Lottery says that even though lotteries are run with public money, as jackpots grow bigger and bigger he expects more anonymity to start being allowed so that winners feel safe. "We have not heard from the winner yet," the director of the Illinois lottery said Saturday during a press conference, per Today. "We don’t know whether or not they’re aware they’ve won this incredible prize. So we’re telling all of our players—check your tickets." Winners have 60 days to choose between a lump sum or annual payment, and 12 months to collect their winnings. (Read more Mega Millions stories.)

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