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20th May 2022

The reason why lottery winners go public as UK’s biggest EuroMillions revealed their identities

Charlie Herbert

Why do some lottery winners decide to go public

Six of the 10 biggest EuroMillions winners have decided to remain anonymous in the past

A couple from Gloucestershire have hit the headlines this week after they won the biggest ever National Lottery jackpot.

Having initially remained anonymous for a couple of days, Joe and Jess Thwaite decided to go public on Thursday with their £184m Euromillions win.

The couple, who have been married for 11 years, said the win would give them “time to share lots of experiences and go on adventures with our family and friends.”

But lottery winners always have the right to remain anonymous, and many choose to do just that, with six of the 10 winners of the biggest EuroMillions jackpots never going public with their win.

This includes the winners of the second biggest EuroMillions jackpot (£170m) in 2019.

This is perhaps understandable, considering the increased attention winners will get after such a win, and the many factors that come with this.

So why do some winners decide to go public?

Quite simply, it can be difficult to hide when you’ve won such a life-changing amount of money. Winners will often spend the money on something like a new house or car, or a luxury holiday abroad, and this would probably raise suspicions among family and friends without an explanation. This was the main reason the Thwaites gave – they wanted to spend the money on family and friends so simply had to go public.

Jess said: “I don’t want to lie to family and friends, I want to enjoy it with them.

“Maybe, naively, I thought we could tell a few people and it would be fine. But the list gets longer and soon you realise it would be a burden asking them to keep it quiet. Telling people makes it easier.”

This was a similar reason to that given by Colin and Chris Weir when they won £161m in 2011.

They told the Independent: “We would have preferred to stay anonymous, but we recognised it wasn’t a possibility.

“We wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the experience if we had constructed lies to tell our nearest and dearest.”But this isn’t the only reason some go public though.

Camelot provide a lot of support to lottery winners who decide to go public, helping with things like press conferences and handling media requests.

Julie Jeffrey won a cool £1m in 2002, and explained to Yahoo: “Even if you only tell one person, things spread. Before you know it everybody knows.

“And if you don’t take publicity, Camelot can’t acknowledge your existence, so they can’t help you or provide a backup.”

She added that if she had started “going on fancy trips abroad people would have noticed,” and that this would have meant having all “the unwanted attention,” but without any support from Camelot.

Ultimately, it is completely up to the winners to decide whether they go public or not. There is never any financial incentive from Camelot for the winner to go public.

A Camelot representative told Business Insider UK: “The decision to share their news or remain anonymous is completely up to the winner and depends on a number of factors including who they’ve told and what they plan to do with their win.

“It’s fantastic when winners share their news but everyone is different. Ultimately it is up to the individual and we’ll support them whatever their decision.”

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