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How Many Lottery Winners Go Public?

Last Updated: Tuesday 25th June 2019, 15:32

The winner of the £123 million EuroMillions jackpot from 11th June has decided to remain anonymous after coming forward to claim their prize. Find out if that is the popular option for lucky ticket holders and why some players decide to go public.

Deciding Whether To Stay Anonymous Or Not

If you win a National Lottery prize in the UK, it is entirely your decision as to whether you opt for publicity or anonymity. You receive the full amount regardless of your choice and National Lottery advisors are on hand to help support you either way. You just have to make sure you claim your money within 180 days of the draw taking place.

If you decide to stay private, no more information will be revealed about your win. For the £123 million winner, for example, there was a news release that the prize had been claimed and an update that the ticket holder would be remaining anonymous. There was no word on whether the ticket belonged to an individual or a syndicate. The National Lottery had already stated that the entry had been bought in-store rather than online, but details of where it was purchased would only have been disclosed two weeks after the draw to help track down the winner.

If you decide to go public, you are giving your consent for the lottery to disclose information about your identity. You will be required to fulfil various media obligations and, for big prizes such as jackpots, will most likely have to take part in a press conference. Questions will range from how you bought your ticket and felt when you found out about your win, to what you plan to do with the money.

The National Lottery has reported that around 85 percent of winners keep their big win a secret, but for the largest prizes it is much more of an even split. Three of the five biggest EuroMillions winners in the UK have gone public, while three of the top five Lotto prizes of all time have also been claimed by players who have been happy to share their identities.

What Might Influence A Winner To Go Public?

The advantages of staying anonymous seem very clear, as you would be able to carry on with your life as normally as possible away from the media glare and would not have to worry about people begging for your money - whether it be strangers, friends, family members or acquaintances.

However, there are several factors which could sway your thinking towards publicity. Colin and Christine Weir, the biggest UK winners in history after scooping £161 million on EuroMillions in 2011, said they didn’t want to ‘construct lies for our nearest and dearest’. One of the reasons why so many big winners go public could be that it is such a large secret to bear, whereas lower amounts do not attract such interest and can be more easily hidden.

The Weirs were also able to launch a successful charitable organisation on the back of going public which may not have been so effective at helping worthy projects across Scotland if they had stayed private. It may be that you feel publicity is a good way of opening up opportunities for your future which may not otherwise be possible.

You will only face the decision over whether to go public or not if you win more than £50,000, and can speak to National Lottery advisors about the pros and cons of each option before making your choice. Whatever you would do, the only way to have a chance of winning is to play, and you can get involved now by taking part online or going to an authorised retailer.

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