In April, an unidentified person won the largest lottery jackpot in the history of British Columbia but contrary to the rules, the person is allowed to remain anonymous after claiming the record $30 million jackpot. The decision sparked controversy, making people wonder why the provincial lottery corporation is breaking its own rules.
Last week, the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) announced that the individual winning the $30 million jackpot in an April draw would be allowed to remain anonymous. This is a record-breaking jackpot for the province and understandably, it drew a lot of attention. The winning Lotto 6/49 ticket was purchased at a grocery store on Parkway Boulevard in Coquitlam and the lucky numbers were announced during the April 25 draw, says BCLC, which is a provincially-owned Crown corporation. This means that it is not a private company but owned and managed by the provincial government.
This is why its decision to keep the winner’s identity secret is a surprising and rare move that, practically, break the corporation’s own rules. According to them, lottery winners can claim a prize only if they provide their personal information and if they allow the BCLC to publish their names, photograph, residence, and prize amount. The corporation’s spokeswoman Laura Piva-Babcock explain that this requirement is essential for maintaining the fairness and accountability. When playing lotteries and other games of chance, people need to know that the lottery is transparent and that the jackpots are really paid to the winners.
While the condition for making your identity public when claiming a prize is indeed a fairness measure, it may also represent certain risks for the winner. BCLC’s Laura Piva-Babcock does not specify any details, but she adds that in this case, the circumstances were extraordinary. The winning ticket holder asked that his or her identity be kept secret. After reviewing the request very carefully and investigating the circumstances around the claim, the BCLC decided to respect the winner’s wish.
While this person is now $30 million richer and lucky enough to remain anonymous, the lottery corporation is getting around its own rules. This may sound outrageous to some people who have participated in the lottery for decades, but it has actually happened before. Only in the past three years, the BCLC has granted anonymity to lottery jackpot winners four times. Their prizes were way smaller, however, not even reaching $100,000.
According to Laura Piva-Babcock, this is not an exception to the rule but rather a rare occurrence, allowed by the Crown corporation in only extraordinary circumstances. She adds that every situation is unique and therefore, reviewed individually, with all details and pieces of evidence checked and verified by third-party sources. One such case, for example, is when there are risks regarding the safety of the person who claimed the prize. This is particularly true when the jackpot is, indeed, huge or anywhere near $30 million.