Can You Stay Anonymous When Winning the Illinois Lottery? The Ultimate Guide - 33rd Square (2024)

Winning the lottery can be life-changing, but it also comes with significant challenges, especially around privacy if your identity is made public. In Illinois, lottery winners can remain anonymous when claiming prize money, which allows you to maintain your privacy. This detailed guide will walk you through everything you need to know about claiming an Illinois lottery prize anonymously.

Overview of Anonymity Rules in Illinois

The Illinois Lottery allows winners the option to remain anonymous and not have their name or likeness publicized. This anonymity extends through the entire claims process, so your identity can remain private even as you collect your winnings.

Illinois lottery winners must still disclose their identity to lottery officials to verify their eligibility and for tax reporting purposes. However, this information is kept confidential by the lottery. Even public records requests cannot reveal it per the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

You will need to work directly with a lottery claims manager to collect your winnings anonymously. They will advise you on the paperwork and identification needed. This confidentiality option is available for any amount of lottery winnings in Illinois.

Lottery Anonymity By State

  • States allowing full anonymity: Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Wyoming
  • States allowing partial anonymity: Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia
  • States requiring publicity: California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin

As you can see, Illinois falls into the category of states allowing partial anonymity, where your identity remains private but some confidential verification is still required.

Highest Anonymous Illinois Lottery Wins

  • $656 million, Merle Butler – Red Bud, 2012
  • $113 million, Chicago, 2011
  • $112 million, Lake County, 2005
  • $105 million, Calumet City, 2008
  • $98 million, Chicago, 2014

These record high lottery jackpots were all successfully claimed anonymously in Illinois. As you can imagine, keeping huge wins like these private is life changing.

Steps to Claim Anonymously

If you are lucky enough to win the lottery, make sure you take these necessary steps to claim your prize anonymously in Illinois:

  • Don‘t reveal your win publicly – It‘s critical to keep the news quiet until you‘ve completed the claims process. Avoid leaks at all costs. Even telling one person could unravel your privacy.

  • Get legal representation – Hire a lawyer experienced specifically with lottery claims cases to guide you through the process. This will be your most important advisor.

  • Form an entity – Create a blind trust, LLC or other legal entity to claim the prize so it is not claimed under your individual name. This puts a legal shell around your identity.

  • Work with the lottery claims office – They will instruct you on next steps including verification paperwork you‘ll need to maintain anonymity. Lean on their expertise here.

  • Collect your winnings – After forms are processed, the prize money can be deposited into your trust or entity‘s bank account, not your personal account.

  • Pay taxes – Engage a tax professional to handle required IRS reporting and payment of taxes anonymously through your entity. This is crucial.

Average Illinois Lottery Jackpot Claim Timeline

  • 1-2 weeks – Consult with attorneys and financial planners; set up blind trust or LLC

  • 2-4 weeks – Complete lottery verification and claims process with full anonymity

  • 4-6 weeks – Funds disbursed into trust bank account; taxes paid

  • 2+ months – Make any major purchases or gifts prudently

As you can see, you should wait at least 2 months before making any large purchases or gifts with your winnings. Avoid splurging in the heat of the moment.

Creating a Blind Trust to Claim Winnings

One of the most foolproof ways to keep your identity private is to set up a blind trust to collect the lottery winnings. Here is how it works:

  • Your lawyer helps establish the irrevocable blind trust, appointing a corporate trustee to manage the trust assets (your lottery winnings)

  • The blind trust has no information linking it to you. Even the trustee does not know the beneficiary.

  • The trustee makes the lottery claim on behalf of the trust and collects the winnings per the trust agreement.

  • The trust can distribute funds to you as the beneficiary on an ongoing basis while keeping your identity completely anonymous.

The public has no right to view blind trust details or payouts per Illinois law. This keeps your financial information secure. Make sure your trust is set up properly with an independent corporate trustee service to ensure anonymity.

Blind Trust vs. Other Entities

EntityAnonymitySetup DifficultyCostControl
Blind TrustFullMedium$5,000+Low
Personal RepLowHard$10,000+Low

As you can see, a blind trust offers the best anonymity but requires giving up control over the assets. LLCs are easier to set up but provide less protection. Consult your attorney to weigh the options.

Who Should Know About Your Win?

It‘s prudent to keep your lottery winnings confidential, but you may want to share the news with a small circle of trusted advisors:

  • Spouse or family members – Share details at your discretion but advise them to keep it private. Lean on their support.

  • Attorney – They will handle the claims process and formation of the trust or entity. Find one experienced specifically in large lottery claims.

  • Financial planner – Review prudent investment and wealth management strategies. Look for a fiduciary fee-only planner.

  • Accountant – File taxes appropriately and minimize your tax burden. Hire an accountant experienced with lottery tax planning.

  • Banker – If depositing a large sum, alert your bank manager first. Choose a discrete private bank.

Use extreme discretion in who else you inform. Never disclose your win on social media or to members of the media. This will compromise your privacy. Your close support team will be invaluable in navigating this life changing event.

Pros and Cons of Remaining Anonymous

There are compelling reasons to keep your lottery win quiet:


  • Avoids public pleas for money from strangers

  • Prevents scams targeting lottery winners

  • Eliminates constant media attention and loss of privacy

  • Allows you to keep personal relationships intact

  • Lets you grow wealth privately without public scrutiny


  • Inability to openly share your good fortune

  • Need for discretion when making big purchases

  • Possible suspicion from sudden wealth by acquaintances

  • Can be isolating without others to share excitement

  • Lack of public celebration and recognition

As you weigh the pros and cons, remember anonymity gives you options if you ever do decide to reveal your wealth down the road. For many winners, privacy protection is worth the trade-offs.

Illinois Lottery Horror Stories

  • Jack Whittaker – Repeatedly sued after winning $315 million Powerball prize

  • Urooj Khan – Died from cyanide poisoning weeks after winning $1 million

  • Abraham Shakespeare – Murdered by acquaintance after winning $30 million

  • Victoria Zell – Struggled with addiction and legal issues after $11 million win

These cautionary tales illustrate the downsides of publicized lottery wins. Anonymity helps shield you from these pitfalls.

Investing Your Winnings Wisely

Investing your lottery winnings prudently is critical. Work closely with a fiduciary fee-only financial planner to craft a personalized plan based on your risk tolerance and goals.

Here are some smart ways to invest while remaining anonymous:

  • Open investment accounts using your trust or LLC name only

  • Diversify across asset classes – stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.

  • Set aside funds needed for taxes in safe, liquid accounts

  • Invest in indexed funds, ETFs and managed portfolios for easier management

  • Include some higher risk/higher yield investments like startup equity or crypto for long-term growth

  • Use a corporate trustee and money manager to handle investments on your behalf

The key is avoiding big splurges or unwise speculation in early years. Your winnings should be treated as long-term wealth to responsibly grow and compound over decades. Patience and discipline will pave the way to sustainable financial security.

Average Asset Allocation Recommendations

  • 50-70% Stocks
  • 20-30% Bonds
  • 5-10% Alternative Assets
  • 5-10% Cash

Work with your financial planner to construct an asset allocation tailored specifically to your situation.

Final Tips for Privacy

Here are a few final tips to maintaining anonymity after a lottery win:

  • Avoid lavish displays of wealth like luxury cars, jewelry, mansions. Keep a low profile.

  • Never disclose your win on social media or contact media directly – this will forfeit your privacy.

  • If asked about any windfalls, politely say you prefer keeping personal finances private.

  • Plan for how you may eventually reveal winnings to close family when ready.

  • Read lottery winner awareness guides so you fully understand rules.

  • Use prudence and patience in managing your windfall. Avoid drastic life changes.

Maintaining discipline and consistently making smart choices will help you leverage your lottery winnings for long-term prosperity while keeping your privacy intact. With proper planning, you can have the best of both worlds.

If you are lucky enough to win the Illinois lottery, please feel free to reach out to me anytime for personalized advice on protecting your identity during the claims process. I‘d be happy to offer my guidance as someone who has helped lottery winners successfully navigate anonymity. Congratulations on your winnings!

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Can You Stay Anonymous When Winning the Illinois Lottery? The Ultimate Guide - 33rd Square (2024)


Can you be an anonymous lottery winner in Illinois? ›

According to the Illinois Lottery's website, winners of jackpots $250,000 or larger may request their names and cities be kept confidential. Jackpot winners must indicate that choice on the Illinois Lottery Claim Form at the time they claim the jackpot.

How much tax do you pay on a $1000 lottery ticket in Illinois? ›

In Illinois, lottery winnings are subject to a tax rate of 4.95%.

How long does it take to get your lottery winnings in Illinois? ›

You can expect to receive your check by mail in 3-4 weeks. Every effort will be made to process your claim as quickly as possible. This estimated timeframe is dependent upon several factors, including completion of the claim form, submission of all required documents, and the quality of the uploaded ticket images.

What to do if you win the lottery in Illinois? ›

Mail - Complete the claim form and send with the required documentation to Illinois Lottery Claims Department, P.O. Box 19080, Springfield, Illinois 62794-9912. Once processed, your winnings will be mailed to you in the form of a check. e-Claim - Complete the e-Claim and submit, attaching the required documents.

How long does it take for lottery winnings to hit your bank account? ›

Once the money has been collected, it usually takes five to ten business days to hit your account. Banks are often wary of handling such large transfers, and not all are equipped to handle jackpots. At the earliest, you should plan to receive your lottery winnings between three and four weeks after the draw date.

How to withdraw money from Illinois Lottery? ›

You can either transfer the winnings in your Illinois Lottery account to your bank account, request a check, or use them to play again. Any win over $600 must be claimed by mail or at an Illinois Lottery Claim Center.

How long does it take to get your money after winning the lottery? ›

If you elected the cash option or if your prize is only offered in a single payment, your check should arrive approximately six to eight weeks from your claim date. If your prize is to be paid in installments, your first payment should be available within six to eight weeks from your claim date.

Do lottery winnings affect social security? ›

How About Your Retirement Benefits? Just like SSDI, social security retirement benefits are earned benefits. This means winning the lottery will have no impact on your retirement benefits. But it may impact your taxes on your benefits since lottery winnings have to be reported to the IRS.

Can a trust claim lottery winnings in Illinois? ›

If a winner dies before receiving the entire prize, the balance is paid to their estate. However, under certain circ*mstances, the prize winner's estate or trust may have the option to receive all future payments as a one-time, net present-value payment.

Does Illinois pay its lottery winners? ›

The Illinois Lottery pays Lotto, Mega Millions and Powerball grand prizes either in 30 annual payments or a lump sum payment equal to the cash value of the jackpot prize. Lotto, Mega Millions and Powerball winners have 60 days after the date of the drawing to choose the cash option or annual payments.

Are lottery winnings direct deposit? ›

Lottery winnings can be deposited in various ways, depending on the preferences of the winner. Here are some common methods for depositing lottery winnings: Direct Deposit: Many lottery organizations offer the option of direct deposit, where the winnings are transferred directly into the winner's bank account.

Where to collect Illinois lottery winnings? ›

Claim Centers
  • CHICAGO. George W. ...
  • DES PLAINES. Regional Office 1, 2, & 6. ...
  • ROCKFORD. Regional Office 3. ...
  • FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS. Illinois Lottery, Region 4. ...
  • SPRINGFIELD. Regional Office 5 & Lottery Central. ...
  • Be Smart, Play Smart® Must be 18 or older to play.

What should I do immediately after winning the lottery? ›

Practicalities of Claiming the Jackpot
  1. Safeguard the ticket. Sign the back of the ticket immediately and then store it somewhere secure. ...
  2. Be choosy about who you tell about your win. ...
  3. Engage a Lawyer and Financial Advisor. ...
  4. Decide on taking the lump-sum or annuity option. ...
  5. Plan on income taxes in two parts.
Jan 31, 2024

Does the Illinois Lottery app notify you if you win? ›

If I use the app, how do I know if I have won? If you've won a game you purchased on the app, we will send an email to the address associated with your Illinois Lottery account. You can also find information on past draws in the Account section of your app under My Games.

How much does Illinois take in taxes on lottery winnings? ›

Lottery: Illinois withholds state taxes (4.95 percent) on lottery winnings of at least $1,000. The state lottery also is required to withhold federal taxes (24 percent) on winnings of $5,000 or more.

Can an LLC claim lottery winnings in Illinois? ›

They are the first winners in the lottery's history to claim a prize as an LLC, but they are among about 20 percent of the $1 million-plus prizewinners in Illinois who form a legal entity to claim their money.

Can non residents play Illinois Lottery? ›

You may sign-up for or log in to a Players Account from any location within or outside Illinois. However, in order to purchase Internet Tickets or Lottery Subscriptions via the internet or our Mobile App, you must access these Websites from a location within the geographical boundaries of the State of Illinois.

Can undocumented immigrants claim lottery winnings Illinois? ›

Undocumented U.S. residents are permitted to claim their own Illinois Lottery prizes. You receive a telephone call from a direct marketer who promises lottery prizes.

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