Illinois lottery winners could be anonymous under proposed law

A lottery jackpot win in Illinois could become a private affair.

Illinois lawmakers are moving ahead with a plan that would allow any lottery winner of more than $250,000 to remain anonymous, including winners of the massive Mega Millions and Powerball lottery drawings.

State Sen. Laura Murphy, D-Des Plaines, is pushing for the legislation because some winners become targets when they’ve been publicly named as multi-millionaires.

“Seventy percent wind up to be prey to all kinds of scams,” she said.

Her bill was approved 12-1 in the Senate Gaming Committee on Wednesday. Under the bill’s language, a jackpot winner would formally request anonymity through the state’s Lottery director.

Nearly a third of lottery winners declare bankruptcy, according to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

State Sen. Tom Rooney, R-Palatine, sympathized with the millionaires getting scammed, but said there should be no secrecy in dealing with a public entity.

“A lottery is a public process,” he said. “I don’t see why somebody gets to keep what should essentially be public information private.”

Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and South Carolina all allow for jackpot winners to remain anonymous.