Measure Moves To Protect Lottery Winners From Public

Mar 19, 2013

The next state resident to pick or scratch it rich may never be known - as least not publicly. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains.

Current law makes the names of Lottery winners a public record. But the measure given preliminary Senate approval this week would change all that, allowing winners to seek confidentiality and permitting the state to disclose only a home town.

The move came over the objection of Senator Steve Gallardo. He acknowledged that big winners have their lives changed and can find themselves besieged by friends, relatives and other. So he proposed a 10-day windows during which the names would remain secret. Gallardo said, "they can go meet with an attorney, go meet with an accountant, do whatever they need to do. If they need to add additional security around their home or get a public information office, that's fine as well. But give them 10 days to get their affairs in order before their name becomes public."

That did not satisfy Senator Al Melvin. He said those who win the Lottery will have their lives forever changed. "In 10 days it doesn't give people enough time to sell their home and move some other place," Melvin said. "Within 10 days, excuse the expression, then all hell will break loose just like it would on the first day."

The measure has already been approved by the House, meaning it needs just a final roll-call vote before going to the governor.