New Jersey Lottery Winners Allowed to Stay Anonymous as One Person Wins $202 Million
USWire Service

Two hundred and two million dollars is more money than most of us can even fathom. But one lucky lottery winner from New Jersey may be able to relish all that money in secret—thanks to a new law that went into effect just last month.

The Feb. 11 drawing of the Mega Millions jackpot was won by a single ticket sold at a Quick Stop Food Store in Edison, according to the New Jersey Lottery.

The ticket matched all six numbers of 4, 6, 32, 52, 64 and the gold Mega Ball of 6.

The $202 million jackpot has a cash value of $142.2 million.

We may never find out the identity of the mega-millionaire, however.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a law in January that allows lottery winners to stay anonymous.

Former Governor Chris Christie vetoed the legislation during his tenure in 2013, arguing that it would “undermine the transparency that provides taxpayers confidence in the integrity of the lottery and its games,” according to

Mega Jackpot lottery
A woman fills out her Mega Millions ticket in Washington on Oct. 19, 2018. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

But supporters of the law, which was passed unanimously this year, said lottery winners should be able to make their own choice on whether they want the publicity or not.

New Jersey joined a handful of other states including Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, and Kansas that allow lottery winners to hide their identities if their winnings exceed a certain amount, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

A Choice for the Spotlight

The glare reserved for lottery winners can be intense.

“If that person wants that spotlight they can elect to have it, but if a person wants their privacy they should be entitled to it,” Assemblyman John Burzichelli said, according to

Burzichelli said the law would prevent lottery winners from being “hounded and harassed as a result of their newfound wealth and fame.”

california man arrested over lottery ticket
Adul Saosongyang, 35, of Vacaville, Calif., was arrested on Jan. 7, 2019. Police officials said he replaced his roommate’s winning lottery ticket with a fake one and tried to cash in on the winnings. (Vacaville Police Department)

“In some cases, lottery prizes have resulted in winners being robbed and even killed,” Burzichelli said.

The law exempts names and addresses from the state’s open records laws, but state agencies are still able to share the information internally to collect child support, public assistance overpayments, and debts, according to

Remaining Anonymous Can Be the Line Between Life or Death

The overnight wealth may bring luxury cars, vacations, or a house to lottery winners, but it can also garner a lot of unwanted attention, harassment, and even violence.

In 2016, a 20-year-old man who had won a nearly half-million dollar lottery jackpot was killed during a home invasion robbery in Georgia, according to CNN affiliate WALB.

And in 2010, Abraham Shakespeare, who won $31 million, was found buried under concrete. His friend, Dorice “Dee Dee” Moore was convicted of his murder.

Scratch-off lottery ticket
A man scratches a scratch-off lottery ticket on May 28, 2018. (Nikolay Doychinov/Getty Images)

This fear even led a woman in 2018 to sue the New Hampshire Lottery to collect her $560 million jackpot in anonymity.

In her lawsuit, she said that disclosing her identity would “constitute a significant invasion of her privacy,” and the judge ruled in her favor.

After Tuesday’s drawing, the Mega Millions jackpot has been reset to $40 million.

The next drawing will be on Feb. 14.

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