JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The identity of Missouri Lottery winners could be kept secret under legislation sent to Gov. Mike Parson that would reverse the state's current policy of publicizing winners.
The bill, which received final approval Wednesday in the Senate, would make it a misdemeanor crime for the lottery or its contractors to publicize the identity of lottery winners, unless the winners ask for their names to be made known. The bill previously passed the House.
Sponsoring Rep. Jay Mosley said his intent is to protect lottery winners from being harassed or threatened by others who hear or read about their success.
"The last thing we want is for the excitement of winning the lottery to be replaced with a sense of fear because the newfound money draws unwanted attention," Mosely, a Democrat from Florissant, said in a statement Thursday.
The North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries says all but a very few states require the names and cities of winners to be made public. The intent is "to assure the public that there are real winners," the association says on its website.
The Missouri Lottery said winners' names and hometowns currently are considered public records. Publishing winners' identities "is necessary to ensure the integrity of the Lottery's games," it says on its website.
Under the legislation, winners still could provide written authorization for their names, addresses and other information to be publicized. But the publicity form could only be provided upon the request of the lottery winner and not offered unsolicited by the lottery.