As our latest $2 million Powerball® winner was claiming his prize last week, we got a comment that’s worth sharing here on the blog, as it raises an important point about lottery winners’ information in Iowa.
The comment came to us on Facebook, where someone raised concerns about the lottery sharing information about the winner. The commenter wished that prizes could be claimed anonymously in Iowa. We understand the perspective, and we encourage comments on the lottery’s Facebook page. But Iowa law requires that lottery winners’ information be made public. And the lottery, like everyone else, has to follow the law.
When you win an Iowa Lottery prize of more than $600, you have to fill out a winner claim form that includes your name, address and Social Security number before you can claim your winnings. Iowa law makes the information on that claim form public, meaning that anyone can request a copy of the form to see who has won the prize. We redact sensitive information, such as your Social Security number, from the form before we release it, but all other details are considered public information under Iowa law [Iowa Code Section 99G.34(5)].
The winner claim form states in part: "By signing this claim form, I authorize the Iowa lottery Authority to use my name and likeness for any publicity purposes that it deems desirable." Also, "The Lottery will redact your Social Security number on this claim form. The remaining information is used for research and publicity purposes and will be made available to members of the public."
We understand that privacy is a big concern these days. But on the other side of the coin, you want to know that the lottery is being run honestly and that its winners are being determined by random chance just like they’re supposed to be, right? The idea behind the law requiring disclosure of winners’ information is to help ensure that the lottery is not being rigged.
No matter what, we do our best to help our winners have a fun day when they're here. We add a lot of special touches to the prize-claim process to make it a memorable occasion.
Keep those questions and ideas coming, and we’ll keep talking about them here!