Of course, practicalities always work their way into the wildest of fantasies, and the question of whether or not you would go public or remain anonymous comes into play rather quickly. If you woke up £72 million richer on Saturday morning, could you keep it a secret for long, or would it be better to do the press conference and deal with being in the spotlight for a while?
According to the Camelot website and an interview with Andy Carter, the senior Winners’ Advisor for the National Lottery, winners who opt for anonymity still receive legal and financial advice. No matter what happens, they will give winners the support they need. However, in a November 2014 interview with The Telegraph, Carter does mention that most of the people who go public with a large win do it because they couldn’t possibly hide their change in fortune. He’s right - money is a hard thing to hide.
Anonymity is tempting at first, as you might feel as though you can shield yourself from the prying eyes of the media or requests for money from friends and family you barely know. This approach would probably work well if you won a Match 5 + 1 prize on EuroMillions, which would net you an average amount of £305,708 (as of 4th March) according to the EuroMillions Prizes page. A small house, a nicer car - no one would have to know you bought them outright.
Winning a larger prize would make staying anonymous infinitely more difficult. You couldn’t park your new Aston Martin in front of your little bungalow in Tamworth, and the neighbours would certainly start talking if you began to use a Hermes handbag instead of the latest Primark rip-off. If you told a family member or close friend who couldn’t stay quiet, you might come home to a garden full of journalists sooner rather than later. Even if you told no one, you’d bear the huge burden of all that money by yourself - knowing that you could help out a friend going through a rough spot, but remaining quiet, could be pretty tough on your conscience.
In that sense, going public is a bit more like ripping the plaster off a wound. After confirming your win and popping open the champagne bottle in front of the cameras, you and your loved ones can go somewhere quiet and let it all sink in. By getting it all done in one go, you can move on and start living the life you always dreamed of but could never previously afford. Sure, people might come out of the woodwork asking for cash and favours, but you’d have the guidance and backing of lottery officials who could advise you on how to handle such issues without letting things spiral out of control.
Anonymous and public winners are the same in that their lives will change forever; the windfall blown into their laps can’t be undone or wished away. If you strike it rich on Friday night, Mr. Carter or one of his team members will be paying you a visit, and you’ll have to make a decision as to whether or not you’ll tell the world or keep it a secret. The choice is yours - make sure that the option you go for is one that you can live with.