Someone in New York is $20 million richer thanks to a $2 lottery ticket

Beth Torres

“Buy low / sell high.” Whoever saw their $2 purchase of a Mega Millions lottery ticket become a $20 million lottery prize certainly followed this advice. A ten million to one gain is nothing to sneeze at! The New York Lottery has announced that one prize-winning ticket was sold at the January 17, 2023 drawing.

Where was the winning ticket sold?

The jackpot-worthy ticket was sold at a New York Lottery retailer, 170th Street Grocery. The location is shown on the map below.

Who is the lucky winner?

As of this writing, no one has come forward to claim the $20,000,000.00 jackpot.

However, it seems likely that the winner’s identity will eventually be announced to the public. See the next section.

Can the winner of a New York Lottery jackpot remain anonymous?

No, they cannot, assuming they want to receive their prize. 

This page makes it clear, under the heading “Will it be announced that I’ve won the lottery?”

“The Lottery may defer the determination of a prize claim pending a claimant's participation in a news conference, announcement, the conclusion of any investigation, or litigation concerning the right to a prize.”

The reason given is that “lottery prizes are public funds” and “we owe it to all our players to disclose the names of winners.

The New York Lottery FAQ makes it clear that lottery prizes are funded by ticket sales. Since ticket sales are voluntary purchases made by individuals, I don’t see how this qualifies as “public funds.” 

I recognize that being publicly identified as the winner of a huge jackpot is the kind of “problem” that many would like to have. But the rest of the reasoning given for the public disclosure sounds to me like the bureaucratic version of “Because we said so.”

Do all states require public identification of lottery jackpot winners?

Most do, but there are exceptions. See, for example, my articles on NewsBreak about a couple of states that do allow lottery winners to remain anonymous, at least for large prizes:

Illinois lottery ticket worth $1 million still not claimed

Mississippi lottery ticket worth $4 million still not claimed

You can also check with the lottery policy in your state by using a search engine to locate the proper website.

Things to do if you win the lottery

Here’s a video with some common-sense tips about how to handle the shocking (in a good way) news that you’ve won the lottery. Note that the very first topic covered involves remaining anonymous.

What about you? Would you want to be publicly identified as a big prize winner?

Most of us understand the inconveniences and risks associated with the world learning of a sudden windfall. It is unfortunate that so many state lotteries value their desire for publicity over the safety and security of their customers. The option for anonymity would likely be one of the first features of a private, competing lottery, if such was allowed.

Let me know in the comments if you would prefer to keep this kind of big financial news out of the public eye.

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