Virginia News

New law prohibits Virginia Lottery from disclosing info of certain winners

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) -- A new law set to take effect this summer will prohibit Virginia Lottery officials from disclosing the information of certain prize winners.

Sen. Lionell Spruill, Sr. (D-Chesapeake) helped introduce a version of the bill in December.

Under the final version, which was signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam on Feb. 27, lottery officials cannot release the information of anyone who wins a prize larger than $10 million.

This information is also exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), unless the winner says otherwise.

Information including a winner's name, hometown, date of the winning and location of where the ticket was bought is currently all public record in Virginia under FOIA.

People who win "larger or unusual" prizes have their photo taken when they accept their winnings, according to the FAQ section on the Virginia Lottery's website.

That photo is then released publicly on platforms including Facebook and Twitter.

When the new law takes effect July 1, Virginia will join a handful of states that allow winners to remain anonymous in some fashion. This includes South Carolina, where the winner of a $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot anonymously claimed their prize.

Many other states across the country do not allow lottery winners to stay a secret.

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