TAMAP, Fla. (WFLA) — The Mega Millions jackpot is now over $1 billion. As more Americans continue to buy tickets hoping to snag a life-changing payday, some may not want to have their names out there right after winning.
If the winner of the current billion-dollar pot is a Florida resident, a state law passed in 2022 will protect their identity for up to 90 days, as a shield against potential violence. For the purpose of the privacy law, identity means name, phone number, and address.
A Jacksonville Florida legislator proposed the legislation after reports came in showing Florida and Georgia lottery winners had been targeted after winning big.
The current Mega Millions jackpot has continued to build, now with $1.1 billion up for grabs. Winners have two ways to collect, either in a 30-year income split, or a cash lump-sum. Taking the cash gives you a smaller claim, even before taxes. While the annuity option gives you the full $1.1 billion, the cash option is just $648.2 million at current count.
The next lottery drawing is at 11 p.m., Friday. If nobody wins Friday night, the jackpot will increase.
The new law, House Bill 159, was voted in nearly unanimously, just one state senator and one state representative had voted against the bill, sponsored by Tracie Davis (D-Jacksonville). Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law in May, following the 2022 legislative session finished.
Florida does not have a state income tax, but the federal government will still take a portion of the winnings. For any income over $500,000, the Internal Revenue Service takes 37%.
Lottery players in Florida who win more than $250,000 have their identities protected for three months after winning. While government entities would have access to their information in order to update child support payment needs or perform audits, the law otherwise blocks people from finding out who the winners are for the 90 day period.
As written, the law will remain in place until 2027, where it will be up for review under Florida’s Open Government Sunset Review Act, and lawmakers will have to choose whether or not to renew the law, or let it expire and end the statutes for it.