New York lawmaker wants to allow some lottery winners to remain anonymous
Many lottery players dream of winning millions without anyone knowing. Staying private is impossible in New York, where anyone who wins more than one million dollars in the lottery is required to be identified and participate in a press conference. Not all of the attention winners receive is good. Some winners have reported being harassed and even threatened after they were identified.
Six other states currently allow winners to stay anonymous and a Western New York State Senator has introduced a bill to allow New York winners to stay anonymous if they choose to.
"Everybody wants to win the lottery but I don't think you should be endangered because of it." said Senator George Maziarz from Lockport.
Others see the issue differently. Mike Glynn who owns Rocky's News on Syracuse's north side thinks publically identifying winners is a good way to keep lottery games honest and transparent.
"It means a lot for the public to know when they're playing that their games have integrity and it's an assumption. I think having the winners visible now and again helps keep that in place," said Glynn.
The issue has come to the forefront with the trial of the Ashkar brothers. They are accused of scamming a man out of a multi-million dollar lotto ticket more than five years ago and waiting to cash it in.
Jamare Newsome says he understands both sides of the issue, but thinks the publicity of announcing a winner is what keep people playing.
"In the sense of the lottery, I think that they should exploit it since it is the lottery. They want people to play, they want people to win so if you have a winner you have to be able to say - yeah, this guy won!" said Newsome.
Senator Maziarz says he's watching the lottery trial in Syracuse - and now wants to do more research before putting his bill up for a vote.
"Clearly, we're going to take a second look at the bill to make sure that people are not rewarded who may have committed a crime," Maziarz said by phone.
Six states currently allow lottery winners to remain private.