One of the largest US gambling prizes is no longer pending but the public may never discover exactly who won the jackpot. The winners of a $1.34 billion Mega Millions jackpot bought the ticket in Illinois and that state’s laws allow for such winners to remain anonymous if they choose.
The Illinois Lottery did provide a little information about the people who claimed the prize on Wednesday. With such a windfall, it might prove difficult for the winners to go completely unnoticed forever.
What we know about these lucky US gambling players
Right now, not much is official. According to the Illinois Lottery two people claimed the prize on Wednesday. The Lottery did not share which claim center the pair visited or any other identifying details.
The Lottery did state that the winners agreed to split the prize equally. According to the press release, the winners took a lump sum payment of $780.5 million, which breaks down to $390.25 million each. It’s impossible to confirm whether the winners are Illinois residents right now.
A Speedway gas station in Des Plaines, Illinois sold the winning ticket in July. For making that sale, the store gets a commission of $3.75 million.
Illinois law says winners of lottery prizes worth at least $250,000 do not have to disclose their identities when claiming their prizes. Most states do not allow such privacy. The benefits of anonymity are substantial for the winners.
Staying anonymous is another win for the players
Keeping their identities secret has several upsides for the winners. Perhaps the most serious of those is protection for themselves and their families from potential thieves. With over a billion dollars at stake, that threat is very real.
Another benefit involves family from a different angle. Staying anonymous allows the winners to control who they disclose their luck to. They can limit the mass of extended family members and long lost acquaintances suddenly appearing looking for a share of the money that way.
At the same time, a sudden influx of flashy purchases is likely to tip off people in their communities that something is up. If protecting themselves is a priority, the winners would be best advised to not make any big purchases anytime soon and only disclose their wins to those they can trust.