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So you've won the lottery. Now what?

We break down the publicity deal that comes with winning the lottery, and whether or not anonymity is an option.
BCLC has the right to withhold prizes from lottery winners if they refuse to publicize their win.

We've had a number of lotto winners in B.C. recently. From Delta to Sechelt, more than $52 million in winnings have been redeemed by B.C. lottery players so far in 2022.

This got us thinking: what happens if you strike it rich?

Well, it starts with a visit to the BCLC office in either Vancouver or Kamloops. Winners of $10,000 or greater are required to show up at one of two offices to claim their prize, have their photo taken and be interviewed by BCLC staff. 

From there, BCLC states that winners’ stories may be shared anywhere from to social media to news outlets. A short video highlighting the win may also be produced and shared online. 

Why are these stories published?

According to BCLC, the publishing of any information about lottery winners is in the name of “transparency and integrity.”

“We want to promote the integrity of our games, promotions and contests by demonstrating BCLC pays out to the rightful winner,” BCLC states on its website.

Marketing its lottery products, being transparent with the public and fulfilling its mandate to the Province of British Columbia are other reasons provided by BCLC for why it may publish information about lottery winners.

What information are winners asked to share?   

This varies depending on the size of the win. BCLC states that a larger win may drum up more public interest and therefore, winners of these larger prizes may be asked to share more information than winners of smaller prizes.

Some personal details that winners may be asked to share include:

  • marital status
  • occupation
  • employer
  • place of residence 
  • current photograph
  • prize details

Any personal quotes or information volunteered by winners while claiming their prize are also publishable material, according to BCLC.

Wait a minute, what about consent?

BCLC requires written consent from its lottery winners to publish their personal information. If you refuse such consent, a prize may be withheld in accordance with the Rules and Regulations Respecting Lotteries and Gaming

So, I can’t ask to remain anonymous?

You can, but your chances of achieving anonymity are slim. BCLC states that it deals with requests for anonymity on a case-by-case basis, but rarely grants exceptions.

However, BCLC does state that it will never publish the age, contact information or third-party personal information of any of its winners, even if this information is incidentally collected during the prize-claiming process.

How long does the publicity last?

When a winner is claiming their prize, BCLC may request consent to follow up with winners for reasons such as marketing or research.

Then, it takes two years after a win is declared publicly for BCLC to no longer be allowed to publish new material containing a winner’s personal information, without first receiving consent.

This means that for local lottery winners Nikolaos Ntokolas, Matthew Cookney and Andrew Heidrich it could be until 2024 that their 15 minutes of fame is finally up.

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