Vikinglotto winners are allowed to remain anonymous in all nine participating countries, but the issue of publicity is still an important consideration for winners of big prizes. Going public with a lottery win can attract unwanted attention but it also allows people to celebrate freely. Prize money stays the same regardless of whether a winner decides to go public or stay anonymous, so the choice is solely a matter of personal preference.
In some lotteries in other parts of the world, players are compelled by law to have their identity made public if they win a big prize. Vikinglotto is much more straightforward, as the privacy of big winners is protected by all nine lottery providers.
The location where a winning ticket was sold may be disclosed, as well as where a winner lives. Winners may also be asked to provide quotes about how they feel or what they plan to do with the money, but their names will never be released by a lottery unless they wish to go public.
If a winner decides to go public, it means they are happy for their name to be revealed to the wider world. There are many reasons why a player might opt for publicity. It may be that they feel they could not keep such a big win quiet or they do not want the stress of having to keep such a secret. Some winners may also feel that having a public profile could help them in future ventures, or they might just want to embrace the media spotlight.
On the other hand, winners who choose to go public commonly receive begging letters from strangers or suddenly find they have more friends than they realised. The initial media attention that comes with a big lottery win can also add unwanted pressure, and while it may die down after a while, some winners might still find their names in the news years later.
Norway’s Geir Tore Jorgensen is one winner who decided to put his story out into the public domain. The bus driver from Harstad was woken up by a telephone call from the Norwegian lottery provider Norsk Tipping in April 2018 to say he had won 1.4 million kroner (€146,000), but he still went to work that day. He revealed that he wanted to use some of the money to buy a motorhome so he could spend more time travelling around.
The biggest advantage of staying anonymous is that winners can carry on with their lives as normally as possible, away from the scrutiny of the media. Anonymous winners don’t have to worry as much about begging letters from strangers as their name is not in the public domain. Word might still get out about the win but the level of attention will be nowhere near as intense.
Keeping a big lottery win secret can bring its own stress, however. Who do you choose to tell and what happens when other people find out? This might be a small price to pay for retaining your privacy, but it can also be a burden of its own.
The vast majority of big winners opt for anonymity, including the Norwegian player who broke the record for the biggest Vikinglotto win on a single ticket in November 2017. It was confirmed that the winner was a woman from Oslo who had played online. She said she was looking forward to buying her dream house and a car, while the first thing she wanted was a spa session and a massage.