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Wait, who won the jackpot?

Florida Lottery winners managing to stay out of the spotlight

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Can a Florida Lottery winner keep their identity secret? The state’s answer is clear: “Florida Lottery winners cannot remain anonymous." But a Jacksonville resident was able to keep his or her identity under wraps after winning the $3.5 million Florida Lotto jackpot by using a legal loophole.

The winning ticket was purchased on Christmas Day 2019 at the Publix located on Beach Boulevard. Typically, the jackpot winner’s personal information, apart their home address and telephone number, would have been made available to anybody asking for it.

Not this time. The jackpot was claimed as a $2.5 million lump sum by a limited liability corporation, or LLC. That was the only identifying information the Florida Lottery Commission released, besides that the winner declined an opportunity for a picture with the big check.

This isn’t the first time a recent Florida Lotto winner used an LLC to hide their identity. On October 21, 2019, a $100 million scratch-off prize was awarded to “ABIDE7LIWA, LLC, Kurt Panouses, of Indialantic.” That name belongs to a lottery estate lawyer, not the still-unidentified jackpot winner.

It’s not clear what’s changed about lotto winners staying anonymous in Florida and it will be up to the Florida Lottery to let the public know. If this becomes common practice, Florida would be joining half a dozen other states which already allow lotto winners LLC anonymity.