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Why No Privacy For Lottery Winners In Minnesota?

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The third and final share of last month’s record Mega Millions jackpot will go to a retired couple from southern Illinois.

But unlike the other winners in Maryland and Kansas, Merle and Patricia Butler could not remain anonymous. That’s because Illinois, like Minnesota, requires disclosure.

Some states allow winners to remain anonymous in order to protect them from the bombardment of media and solicitations from friends, relatives and strangers.

Why doesn’t Minnesota allow that? Lottery Director Ed Van Patten says transparency is important — and he doesn’t buy the horror stories.

“You don’t really hear of lives being made miserable,” said Van Patten. “We have done surveys in the past and the vast majority of winners of these large prizes have a wonderful life afterwards.”

Van Patten has seen the other side, having run the Kansas lottery which offers privacy. But he says the Minnesota system works well.

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