CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Public identification of large jackpot winners through the West Virginia Lottery may be a thing of the past.
The purchaser of a $2 million Mega Millions ticket last week in Flatwoods verified his winnings with the Lottery and has opted for the new state law that allows winners to remain anonymous.
The winner did authorize the Lottery to reveal the winner is from outside of West Virginia.
State lawmakers passed a bill in the 2018 session creating the option for those who win $1 million or more. Last week’s winner is the first to take advantage of it.
The original law allowed the Lottery to charge a five percent fee to keep the names of winners under wraps but the legislature removed that provision during this past year’s regular session at the request of the Lottery.
Last week’s winning ticket was purchased at the Flying J Travel Center just off the Interstate 79 Flatwoods exit before Tuesday night’s drawing.
The ticket matched five of the six numbers, only missing the Mega Ball number. They also paid an extra dollar for the ticket deciding to purchase the Megaplier option which doubled their winnings from $1 million to $2 million.
The legislative discussion of allowing large jackpot winners to remain anonymous began in the 2016 session. State Lottery Director John Myers, who was acting director in 2016, was originally against the proposal.
Myers said at the time identifying winners was a matter of transparency and it would help to drive sales.
“This really sets this apart as a big game, a big reward and people know that and that’s why, I think, we see the place on that game (Powerball and the like) that we don’t see on some of the others,” Myers said in a MetroNews story published on March 1, 2016.
Other states including Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas allow large jackpot winners to remain anonymous.