Granted, everyone doesn't see it this way. But we winced when we saw the picture last week of Mark and Cindy Hill, of Dearborn, Mo., holding that Powerball check for $293,750,000.

Their lives sure have changed, and not all for the good, we thought to ourselves.

We always think about that when we see smiling lottery winners trotted out for the mandatory press conference and photo. It's a big part of marketing a lottery - showing the millions of losers that somebody won. And it gets them thinking that next time ... next time ... they could be up there holding a big cardboard check.

But money changes things. And having everybody in the world know that you just came into big money really changes things. It's probably safe to say that no relationship you have is quite the same after winning the lottery.

And apparently the entire state Assembly agrees, because by a vote of 76-0 this week, the Assembly approved a bill allowing winners of the New Jersey Lottery to stay out of the public eye for one year.

Newspapers are usually in favor of more public information, not less. And being the cynics that editorial writers are, we have an automatic suspicion of any bill that is approved unanimously. But we agree with lawmakers on this one. Give these people who win the lottery a chance to figure out how to cope with their new-found riches without having to deal with scam artists, greedy relatives, aggressive salespeople and anyone else trying to get a piece of their winnings.

The bill's sponsors - Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Salem, Gloucester, Cumberland, and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, D-Union - even cite the possibility of lottery winners being kidnapped and/or killed. It has happened.

But while violence against lottery winners may be rare, other negative consequences of winning are not. And we can see no significant downside to giving New Jersey lottery winners a one-year period of public anonymity.

Sensibly, the bill was amended to make it clear that the one year of anonymity will not prevent the exchange of information among state entities or shield lottery winners who owe child support or have delinquent student loans or other debts to government agencies.

So why not shield lottery winners from the public's glare for a year? It will give them an opportunity to adjust to their new-found wealth, with no harm to the public that we can see. After all, casino winners can remain anonymous (from everyone except the taxman). The state Senate should approve the bill, too.


Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.