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$560M Powerball Winner Can Keep Her Name Private, Judge Rules (nytimes.com)
186 points by breitling 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 126 comments



This is great for the winner, but how would you prevent collusion here? Suppose all winners of every lottery were anonymous -- how would you know the lotteries are even legit?

1. You might argue that auditors and other government officials would enforce integrity. However, it would be trivial to bribe them. In addition, without total transparency you couldn't have confidence in what they're saying, anyway. It's too easy for them to lie.

2. Perhaps the real winners name would be in some book somewhere, e.g. a tax log, but the real name is out of public sight. This would also be easy to rig. If it's anonymous what's stopping the lottery commission and state government from creating a fake winner?

3. Perhaps the biggest argument in favor of a pro-anonymous lottery is that you already can be anonymous by setting up a trust. This is true, but doesn't answer the question -- how do you know it's legit?

Maybe we should just cap the winnings at 10K, an amount that people wouldn't bug you so much for and change the odds such that the revenue the state gets is the same.

Then everyone wins, no? So, in this case, instead of a single winner of 580M you could've had 60 thousand people win 10K instead. Sounds pretty good. An amount high enough that you'd give it a shot for a buck, but not so high that you'd annoy them if they won.


> 1. You might argue that auditors and other government officials would enforce integrity. However, it would be trivial to bribe them.

This seems like a very casual way to dismiss governmental integrity. Can't you apply this argument to any financial gain you could get from the government? e.g. "You might argue that auditors and other government officials would force people to pay taxes. However, it would be trivial to bribe them."


Apologies for my cynicism, but given that this happens pretty frequently [1] I can't ignore the incentives when dealing with such large amounts of money.

[1] http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2018/02/tax_cre...

[2] http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/harford/aegis/ph-a...

[3] http://www.wjcl.com/article/chatham-area-transit-contractor-...

Transparency is a good way of preventing corruption. I don't have a citation off hand, but I'm pretty confident that this is true. I'll dig one up if you're curious.


I still am not sure that "trivial" is the right level to rate the ability to bribe government officials is at. After all, each of those links points to a person charged or convicted of bribery, meaning that the people privy to the situation raised it with the authorities deliberately or through incompetence.

Thinking about what the collusion would look like here, I think faking the drawing (which is a well-publicized event) is more difficult than having a ticket printed after the numbers are drawn. In the latter case, who has to be "in on it" for it to succeed? It seems like an audit trail on each ticket would be sufficient, proving the time that it was purchased. It seems like this would require a lot of forged evidence in order to successfully pull off that scheme, and it doesn't require that the audit log be publicly disclosed.

Or at least, who is the winner of the lottery hidden from? Is it hidden from the IRS? Is it hidden from the disbursement department at the lottery? Is it hidden from the issuer of the original lottery ticket? These all represent groups of people who you would have to buy out in order to successfully collude.


> After all, each of those links points to a person charged or convicted of bribery, meaning that the people privy to the situation raised it with the authorities deliberately or through incompetence.

This logic is flawed. Any time you hear about someone getting caught, there are additional instances in which someone got away with it. You don’t read about a murderer getting caught and conclude that the problem of murder is not in effect.


Trivial appears to be the right word. In the linked cases of bribery government officials were bribed for a hundred to hundreds of thousands of dollars. When public officials are bribed, they all tend to be in that ballpark. What happens when you can offer dozens of millions of dollars, or a hundred million or more to the right official? Most likely, no one would ever need to offer that high of a number.


> This seems like a very casual way to dismiss governmental integrity.

Government is a group of humans, we know that human nature says probabilistically that anything with lots of value/gain that isn't regulated, measured or public/validated will probably be manipulated by a certain percentage of people for various reasons. When out of view and no chance to get caught, greed is a natural part of some people if not all.

Government and police for instance are composed of humans, and can easily be compromised if the price is right and it is easy to hide. Anything out of view and of value will be manipulated. If you say, Why why? tell 'em that it's human nature...


Yes, which is why we need a transparent government. The only way to win the fight against corruption is to shine a light on it.


You need to read up a bit on recent history if you think there is any record of "integrity" in this field.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_Lotto_fraud_scandal


I mean, isn't that why property tax assessments are public record most places?


Yet, income tax filings are not - at least in the United States. (A number of European countries function just fine with public tax records, though.)


...governmental integrity?

Very curious what nation you reside in.


In Dutch we have a saying: As is the inkeeper does he trust his guests.

I'm always surprised by this pattern of extreme paranoia. In most of the world lottery winners are anonymous, because people wouldn't even consider cheating with this sort of thing. It would just not come to their mind. Perhaps because we don't all default to immediately assume the worst of each other? Because that pattern of thinking makes it easier to morally justify when you screw some one over as well. If enough people think somebody would cheat like this, enough people would have the moral flexibility to cheat.


Are you arguing lottery fraud is rare? Seems pretty common to me and not just in the US.


How do you even rig the lottery? If the numbers are drawn the usual way (machine, spinning drum, balls) you'd have to use weighted balls, but of course the weights are checked before and after and the balls are in strict custody.

But in the US, where even the elections are computerized, anything is possible.



There was a recent one in Canada where the folks running the lottery were arranging for themselves or their friends to win.


Google doesn't have anything pertinent, although there are plenty of cases of the fellow at the lotto counter stealing tickets. That's why you always, always sign the back of the ticket and keep copies.



That link is not at all relevant to a lottery of balls drawn from a hopper.


Rigging lottery is rare.

What is more common is to pay a winner more money for the ticket than the prize, to claim the prize for oneself, as a money laundering scheme. But this is not solved by removing anonymity, as it's hard to prove the scheme without the other person saying anything.

An probable example of this (in Spanish): http://www.levante-emv.com/comunitat-valenciana/2012/02/19/c...


See this investigative article from last week which lays out at least 8 or 10 people who figured out how to rig the lottery for certain types of games: http://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/lotto-winners...


They didn't rig the lottery, they figured out how to beat the odds. The former makes it sound like they colluded to change the game, when all they did was play by the rules, albeit in an extreme manner.


This case is actually far more narrow in scope-- unlike most states, NH allows private trusts to receive the award, but the woman had already signed her real name to the ticket (the standard advice since the ticket is essentially a bearer bond). Most states don't allow a trust to claim the winnings. So this case is more about the spirit of NH law applying to her situation.


Regarding your point #2: I'm pretty sure that even anonymous winners of lottery prizes are identified in some way to the applicable US / state / local tax authorities, when the prize is $600 or more.

For those sorts of prizes, US federal law requires the payor to collect a taxpayer identification number, to file an IRS Form W-2G with the federal government, and to furnish a copy of that form to the payee. Therefore they can ensure that taxes get paid on it.

Now, the payee on Form W-2G can be a trust or a legal entity - they get taxpayer identification numbers just like individuals do. But if the government doesn't see a tax return come through corresponding to a $560 million lottery jackpot, you can be sure the IRS will use all their investigative power, including the ability to pierce through the entity to the humans responsible for it, to track that down.

The main point of lotto anonymity is to hide from unwanted public harassment and invasions of privacy, not from paying taxes.


A $10K lottery is a horrible idea. Most people know that on average you will lose money by buying lottery tickets. What makes it worth playing (for some people) is the (very small) chance of winning fuck you money. If I win $10k, I would be excited and happy about it, but it's going to have very little long-term effect on my lifestyle.


People play 4-digit and 3-digit as well as the scratch offs that win $10k and smaller prizes


I won't say that I thought about the numbers too much, so I'd agree that it's a "horrible" idea, however I want to point out a few things:

> Most people know that on average you will lose money

I don't think most people know this. Perhaps you do. Perhaps most of us here on HN know, but I strongly doubt most people who play do, given that most people who play are poor [1].

> What makes it worth playing...

This isn't true either. Most people who play play it for the smaller winners [1].

Finally, I just want to reiterate that the point of this is exactly what you mentioned. By making the amount small enough such that it wouldn't have a huge effect on your lifestyle, you make it safer to disclose who won.

[1] https://www.vox.com/identities/2016/1/13/10763268/lottery-po...


I suspect that many of the people who play the lottery don't view money as having a strictly linear value. Spending a dollar a day on lottery tickets is a cost that is easy to absorb (think of how many people think nothing of buying a cup of coffee from Starbucks every day). Winning the lottery means getting a relatively large infusion of cash at once, at that infusion has a higher value to power people than the loss of a small amount of money.

Put another way, as a one-time deal, would you consider spending $1 for a 1-in-a-million chance to win $100,000? For many people, that isn't a totally unreasonable bargain. But if I ask you that 10,000 times, the cost becomes spending $10,000 for a 1-in-100 chance to win $100,000. That's the real problem with the predatory nature of the lottery.


> I don't think most people know this.

You don't think most people know they're gambling when they buy a lottery ticket?


I grew up around some businesses that sold various lottery products. I'm not trying to sound mean or dismissive at all when I say this, just strictly matter of fact: I talked to a large and incredible variety of idiots and uneducated people that bought lottery tickets, whether scratch-offs or traditional Powerball type. They all universally knew the odds were bad. Universally.

They also figured that for a few dollars - which most of them could easily afford here and there - those were the best odds they were ever going to have.


I concur with this, and also add that the smaller winnings accrued along the way adds to their sense of validation.

They spend $1000 on tickets, and the day where their next $5 ends up winning them $100 on a scratch-off makes it all worth it.


You don't think that the people who play the lottery every day but only win an occasional $20 or so realize they're losing money?

Most lottery ticket buyers may be low income, but that doesn't mean they're stupid.


One counter example is that knowing names didn't stop collusion in the past - in 2016 someone was arrested for setting up their brother to win:

http://www.businessinsider.com/ap-lottery-insiders-brother-a...


One potential solution is to have an independent third party verify that the winner is legitimate and not linked to the lottery agency. The judge is essentially playing that role here.


I think the commenters point is that with even a few tens of millions of dollars you could buy any 3rd party off.


The identity of the auditors would be public information and they would be under a lot of scrutiny. They would have to go through a lot of trouble to launder any bribe money they received. What use is a few million dollars if you can only spend it as petty cash?


Judges being a great example. There are huge incentives to influence them, but they’re generally pretty hard to buy off.


And the penalties for doing so are draconian and applied by a different judge and historically judges frown on attempts to subvert the judiciary.


>This is great for the winner, but how would you prevent collusion here?

Well the implication here is by publishing the person's name you have a public / crowdsourced validation process, right? But how do you prevent collusion and abuse by the general public if they're really part of the validation process? Both have the same solution - you need trusted parties to validate the process, people who were themselves validated and vetted to do the work. Isn't that already in place? I believe so.


You don't need the name of the winner. You need to verify the drawing is not rigged, the machines printing the ticket etc. But who in the end has the ticket is irrelevant.


> a tax log, but the real name is out of public sight

of course all of the money is tracked by the IRS and state.


Don't let the winners keep private, but put a label on the ticket saying in big letters that you can't keep your winning the lottery private.


The solution is even simpler: abolish lotteries altogether. They are a tax on the poor and a fraud on the taxpayers.


Easy in theory, but you can't just abolish the gambler's mentality. Cunning people with a loose moral compass will find a way.


The government ought not be sanctioning it by saying things like "the money that we get goes towards schools" (https://www.texastribune.org/2017/07/07/hey-texplainer-does-...).


Indeed. This is indeed a scam. Well maybe not a scam but at least a prevarication. Government of all entities should not be engaging in tricks like this.

All the monies are fungible. "This money goes to schools, this money goes to road" is a farce.


Just because you don't want to take that risk doesn't mean others shouldn't be allowed to do so.


What do you see as the difference between a trust and the person as far as transparency goes?


A trust is obviously less transparent, but marginally preferable to full anonymity.


What makes you believe any lottery is legit even when we are given names?


Blockchain?

- Public source code program used to pick a random winner among public keys.

- Private key holder has access to the winnings.

- Govt takes their taxes before disbursing the funds.

- Everyone can verify funds were disbursed.

- Winner can stay anonymous.


Verifying disbursement doesn't verify the program run actually picked a fair winner. The parts left out of your bullet points are what the other posters are discussing.


That's a strange criticism. Once everything is online, there are verifiably fair ways to pick a winner at random.


How? PRNGs come to mind, but they need a true random seed - something like a lava-lamp, but who controls the lava-lamp?

Doesn’t a distributed, transparent system naturally lead to a deterministic system?


Here's how to do it: Let's say there are N parties who want to generate a random number between 0 and M-1. None of the N parties trust each other. Each party individually generates a random number r_1, r_2, ..., r_N and keeps it a secret. Each party generates a hash of this number plus a suitably large salt. These hashes are publicly announced so that everybody can see everybody else's hash. After this, the original random numbers r_1, ..., r_N are published. Add them together modulo M to get R, the resulting random number. All it takes is a single party to randomly generate their number to ensure that the result is random. For extra shits and giggles you can add in a Bitcoin block hash (provided that it's in an appropriate range in order to avoid bias).


Have a public drawing based on physical randomness, which is then videoed and broadcasted.

For example, a ball bouncing around a chamber, where the floor of the chamber is divided between contact pads representing different digits. Each time a ball bounces off a contact pad, add that pad's digit to a list, after X bounces concatenate the list to a seed value.

In a perfect world, with a perfect launching mechanism, you may be able to predetermine which pads the ball will land on and thus guess the seed value ahead of time. But the world isn't perfect. Just give the ball to a four year old who doesn't understand the meaning or consequences of the ball launch, and let the kid throw it into the box.


You can just use the last x bits of hashes for the last y blocks to generate a random number.


If you have the seed and the algorithm for the PRNG before the random number is drawn, then anyone can calculate it and pick the number.

The seed would have to be picked as the number is drawn if the system is public.


You would commit your guess in a block prior to the random bits being determined.

This is actually a popular scheme used by a lot of 'provably fair' gambling sites/smart contracts.


And yet the comments from her lawyer detail reveal how much money she's donated to which charities. So much for anonymity! Between that, her gender, her home town, and even the name of her lawyer, there's WAY too much PII to pretend her identity is a mystery.


You can donate anonymously


irrelevant.

In fact, knowing just four random pieces of information was enough to reidentify 90 percent of the shoppers as unique individuals and to uncover their records, researchers calculated.

https://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/29/with-a-few-bits-of...


I’ve done research on credit card data like that. I can tell you both experientially and mathematically that four bits of random information is insufficient to identify people. The information was not anonymized and they were tracking people engaging in a common, narrow activity. Not only that, but they were only tracking 1.1 million individuals. They had a relatively small search space and significant non-random information with which to bootstrap the deanonymization. Calling that “four bits” is disingenuous.

Contrast this with trying to identify a single individual in a population with no other information about them. It would take about 33 bits if we knew absolutely nothing about her, given log_2(7,280,000,000) = 32.7. But we know she’s American, so we can cut our search space down to 322,000,000. That leaves us with 28 bits. We also know she’s a woman, so we can cut our search space down by 50%. Now we have 27 bits to go. I can virtually guarantee you an analysis of anonymous donation patterns will not meaningfully cut down the search space beyond a few more bits, and that’s exceptionally non-random data. The more useful information is knowing that she resides in New Hampshire, but that still only brings us down to approximately 20 bits.


It's not unreasonable to try to make something a bit more difficult even if you understand it won't stop determined attackers. There's a middle ground between 'doing nothing' and 'making it impossible'.


Good. So many of these ‘winners’ lives are ruined almost purely from disclosure.


This (fairly famous) Reddit post is a really interesting read about this: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/24vo34/whats_the...


Sounds like this guy made the mistake in being really rich in a place that isn't "for" rich people. The rapper Lil Boosie has an interview on YouTube where he talks about this. Once you reach a certain level of wealth and status and start to stand out a little too much, you simply can't be around "normal" people without many of them becoming enraged and wanting to hurt, rob, or kill you. You need to go to a rich-people-friendly area (basically some really nice areas of the major metros) or that kind of stuff will just continue.


Perhaps, but perhaps it is just because you're almost guaranteed that you are giving basically unlimited money to a previously very poor person who has bad money management skills(the demographic that spends the most money on the lottery).


I know many lotteries issue winnings as annuities (often with a lump-sum alternative, I know). But I’m surprised they don’t switch entirely to annuities simply because it avoids all the bad PR the lottery gets from people who mismanage the money. It’s probably better for the economy too as it’s harder to irresponsibly spend $20k every month for the rest of their lives than a $10m one-off payment: thus maximising utility of money.


It's trivial to convert an annuity into a one-time lump sum payment, it's basic finance. Plus they would probably rip off the annuity holder as well by giving a much lower amount.


That was my first thought. Suddenly everyone is knocking on your door and you may even get threats to your life.


Yeah, $264M after taxes. What a disaster. I bet your life would be ruined if you won the lottery.


Have you ever seen relatives fighting over inheritance? It's quite ugly. I consider myself lucky to be an only child.

Winning the lottery is even worse. I'm glad that woman managed to protect her identity.


Yeah, it probably would be. For many - most, even - their lives become a living hell.


Well, both of you are speculating. As some people’s lives are ruined, there are people who won non-anonymously and are doing just fine.


Sure, but the sheer number of horror stories is pretty remarkable. As is the sheer stupidity of how they end. There's also varying degrees of ruined lives. You can avoid kidnapping by some random lunatic, getting killed off by a greedy sibling courtesy with a ridiculously stupid scheme, burying your kid, spiraling into a life of crime, or any of the other examples and still wind up with a life in tatters.

Money can distort friendships and families. That's a given. But lottery money? It just seems like a ticket (ha!) to a world-class shit show. People hear the word jackpot, and act as though because you didn't earn the money--after all, it was just a moment of luck--that they're somehow entitled to it as well. Random people coming up to you at a restaurant, or harassing you by phone or knocking on your bloody door? It's the financial equivalent of the full moon. People take it as an excuse to act nuts, and they apparently get very, very angry when lottery winnings aren't shared with them.

Winning the lottery and avoiding that kind of nightmarish drama appears to require a constant vigilance for the rest of your life. Let it slip, and you're screwed. If you're lucky, you'll just get peppered with money requests that treat you if you're Santa Clause. Only real. Want to help people? You'll need to sort through the scams and the lies, first; honestly, you'd probably have more of an impact if you just cut annual checks to majority charities instead of trying to directly help people financially yourself. If you're unlucky, you get kidnapped and murdered as part of a harebrained scheme that never had a chance of actually succeeding. Which is just adding insult to injury.

There are lottery jackpot winners who avoid these kinds of twisted outcomes. But claiming your prize publicly is a great way to stack the deck against you, all but inviting the worst kind of human behavior to target you for the rest of your life. Ruthlessly maintaining your anonymity doesn't guarantee anything, but it would at least give you a decent start.


Lol, yes don’t underestimate what people expects and want out of you. It’s human nature in pure raw form. You can say no, and they don’t have to take it nicely maybe not even in a perfect world.



In Austria, and Europe afaik, it is common practice not to disclose the name of the winner, only the location. It is done so for privacy reasons. I was always wondering why in the US this was different and always found it a bit strange. But I do understand now.


We Americans love the ol' "poor old man ascends from the ashes of the lower-middle class because he grabbed a PowerBall ticket with his sixer of Miller Lite" story. It sells more tickets.


> I was always wondering why in the US this was different and always found it a bit strange. But I do understand now.

To promote the lottery."So and so won, I saw her on TV, I can win too" is a lot more convincing than "Someone from another town somewhere won".


In France it is the location of the entity which sold the ticket (which they proudly advertise via "10000 EUR won here!")


"The state had argued that the names of lottery winners must be disclosed to ensure that prizes are distributed fairly and that winners are not related to lottery employees."

First, they know who they are writing the check to so the whole "not related to lottery employees" part seems rather bogus.

I thought the whole point of disclosure was publicity, but this got plenty and being able to gamble without telling the world you won probably will sell more tickets anyway which is the whole point of the publicity.


The point of disclosure isn't to get a first order effect of preventing corruption (I don't know of any sensical mechanism that means publishing a name ensures it's not on a certain list). Obviously the government (should) knows if a winner is related to a government employee, but the only way to enforce that is to allow the public to verify that (or so the argument goes).


This seems like a decent application of the Blockchain.


There is no "the Blockchain". Which properties of a blockchain do you think would help with this situation?


The magical part where it solves all of our problems with magic.


no, finally, for once, this is actually a real application of the blockchain!

specifically any that has support for zero-knowledge proofs so that transactions are actually anonymous.

you could have a bunch of people buy lottery tickets by sending currency to a smart contract, and then have it transfer the money to a random winner's address, and make the winner's address available only to the holder of the lottery contract's private key.


To an outsider this wouldn’t look that different to money laundering or some sort of large drug deal or arms trade.


How would you verify that the holder of the lottery contract would actually send the prize to that address?


They write the check to the trust, actually.


There is something about lottery winning (easy money perhaps?) that attracts trouble. There are so many millionaires in tech world of acquisitions and IPOs that made so much more. Most never got into lottery winner kinds of trouble.


It's just more of the lower class preying upon itself. They understand the rules and stakes of the game within the scope of their own world.

Bubba Ray may be fooled by a slip-and-fall scam, but try that shit on Warren Buffet and you'll be dealing with his team of lawyers.

Bubba Ray opts for the lump sum instead of the annuity. Anybody with a gun knows he has easy access to it-- try that shit on Bill Gates and you'll be lucky if you can get more than $400 from his ATM card, what with his billions being tied up in various investment vehicles.

On rare occasion you end up with situations like the Getty fiasco but it's much easier (and draws less attention) if you stick to just ripping off the little people. The rules of the game change when you go big-league and you'll quickly find yourself in over your head.


I imagine business people hide their money in corporations to avoid personal liability issues.


Most likely, the disclosure would lose her a few friends and change everything in your current and future relationships. Very smart lady!


> Most likely, the disclosure would lose her a few friends and change everything in your current and future relationships. Very smart lady!

Not sure why it would change my current and future relationships, but if that's the case, I owe her thanks.


Probably more than that, lawsuits, assaults, roberry, death to name a few issues.


I keep seeing this same sentiment... Where on earth do you people live!?



The US


Anyone got a link to the decision? Why don't journalists tend to link to primary sources?


How is it that people worth a lot more money manage to walk the earth among us mere mortals without being preyed upon like these lottery winners? 24x7 security detail? light sabers? both?


Invisible conceal carry light sabers.


I bet this person's letter carrier and/or the post office where she resides will know or have a very high and good guess at who she is


I'm mostly curious to see what the impact is of this is on future court cases. Presumably in New Hampshire winners won't need to create a trust in order to get the winnings anymore.


Is there anything stopping the lottery from creating rules to disqualify anyone who wants to collect anonymously? I feel there are some contracts you shouldn't be able to sue to get out of.




Blockchain technology, period.


This is what blockchain technology would actually be perfect for.


But not her gender, apparently.


How do we know?


Safe to say that "their" identity is still a secret in light of that careless opsec blunder.


What if the woman is actually an employee of MUSL and faked a ticket, though? Would any of the public be able to find out?


No person should have to pay $300 million in tax for any reason whatsoever.


They basically have to.

I get the notion than it doesn't seem fair, that no person is using a $300m share of the state's resources. But math just doesn't back it up.

The US federal budget is somewhere around 4 trillion dollars. A quick google suggests income tax is 47% of federal revenue. The US has a population of about 323 million. Plugging these all together gives me a federal revenue of about $6k per person, per year.

The alternative to it being "fair" to ask a lottery winner for $300m tax, is for it to be "fair" to tax every man, woman and child that $6k per year.

That almost sounds doable, but that's $6k per retiree, $6k per one-year-old. $6k per unemployed or student. There's a lot of people you simply can't get that money from - so it has to come from somewhere else.

It isn't fair, it's reality.

(For the lottery in particular, there's a simple solution. Lottery winnings aren't taxed here, the ticket is. Not only does this mean no $300m tax bill on a $500m win, but it also means all those silly little wins are taxed fairly too.)


I don't understand what it would mean to tax the ticket. Could you elaborate on that?


We have a sales tax of 23%(!), so for each $1 ticket, 23 cents goes in the coffers and 77 cents goes into the lotto.

So a $500m prize would mean 650m $1 tickets were sold, and the state has already collected $150m. It sounds like the state loses out this way, but it also means all the smaller prizes were already taxed at the point of sale too. By taxing it as earnings, you're never going to collect tax on all those little $10 prizes. But by collecting at the point of sale, $2.98 was already collected that little $10 prize.

I guess it's "six 'n two threes" .. the state gets their money either way.

(Caveats; I'm not arguing this is actually better, just that there are alternatives to the winner's huge tax liability. %'s may be slightly fudged, ours isn't actually taxed as sales tax, but collected as a revenue from the state-owned lottery. And I totally realise this works much easier where the entire nation is a single tax jurisdiction, rather than your state/federal split.)


I think GP meant instead of paying zero taxes on the $1 ticket right now, collect $0,1 of the ticket as tax that goes into the federal budget. Now the (smaller) winnings could be tax free while the federal income would stay about the same.


How did you come to that conclusion?


From what I understand about this case, she wrote her name on the ticket, and once you do that, the state is in charge of whether or not that name gets revealed because removing the name would invalidate the ticket, legally.

So a judge basically said, "Well, we can break the law here and force the state to keep your name private because I say so; I'm a judge."

All the arguments about privacy and stuff, were really about whether it would be fair to break the law or now, not necessarily because they had some sort of legal standing.

No wonder people don't have faith in the American legal system.


> "Well, we can break the law here

What law is being broken? The state not getting it's will doesn't mean a law has been broken.


Ticket invalidation.


The ticket isn't changed though (from the previous coverage, that was suggested and rejected as not being possible). The court just told the lottery that its procedure of handling tickets with a name on them isn't always legal.

Unless there is a specific piece of law that requires the winner being made public, and that hasn't been in any of the reporting I've seen (and would be odd given the trust-workaround), there is no law being broken by this.

Note how in the article it says The state had argued that the names of lottery winners must be disclosed to ensure that prizes are distributed fairly and that winners are not related to lottery employees., not The state argued it is legally required to disclose the names. Even in your first comment, you say the state is in charge of whether or not that name gets revealed, for which it just got a constraint imposed on how to make it's decision.


Can you be more specific? I’m not an expert on New Hampshire lottery law, but I see no indication in the article that identifying the winner is a legal requirement, merely a strong desire of the lottery agency.




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