JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Lottery winners will be kept secret — unless they ask for publicity — under a law signed Tuesday by Gov. Mike Parson that reverses the lottery's long-time promotional policy.
The new law, which takes effect Aug. 28, makes it a misdemeanor crime for lottery officials and contractors to publicly release the names, addresses or other identifying information about winners. Violations are punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of as much as $2,000.
Lawmakers who supported the bill said their intent was to protect lottery winners from being harassed or threatened by people who hear or read about their success. Parson didn't provide any comment about the bill in a brief news release noting he had signed it.
The Missouri Lottery currently publicizes winners' names, the amount they won, the game they played and the retail location that sold the winning ticket. Lottery officials say publicity about winners can help boost sales.
Under the new law, winners would be publicized only if they provide written authorization. But the publicity form could only be provided upon the request of the lottery winner and not offered unsolicited by the lottery.
A new Minnesota law that takes effect Sept. 1 also keeps secret the winners of cash prizes of more than $10,000 unless they give written consent to the Minnesota Lottery to release the information
Most states publicize their lottery winners. But certain prizewinners in Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia and Texas can choose to remain anonymous, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries.