Lottery winner faces exposure

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The Independent Online
Anonymity is likely to be denied to whoever scoops tonight's £17m lottery jackpot after tabloid newspapers yesterday refused to guarantee that they would not name the winner, writes Marianne Macdonald.

The size of the rolled-over jackpot threatens to cause a re-run of the fiasco five weeks ago when an Asian factory worker in Blackburn who won £17.8m was identified against his will after the operator, Camelot, gave out details about him.

The man was forced into hiding and named by two tabloids. On Wednesday, Camelot was criticised by the Heritage Select Committee for leaking a "paper trail" of clues which could have led the media to him. It has now promised to reveal nothing at all aboutwinners who request privacy - a number which has increased from half to almost all after the Blackburn experience. The Sun yesterday said it would not try to identify them, but the News of the World did not commit itself and the Daily Mirror said: "The only contract is between Camelot and the winner. We will judge on its own merits what we will do."

Camelot has paid out around £200m in prizes since the lottery was launched in mid-November, but prizes totalling £5m remain unclaimed. Most are the minimum £10 but the winner of a £300,000-plus Christmas Eve prize has not yet come forward. After 180 daysunclaimed prizes go to good causes. A Camelot spokeswoman said this was surprising, but said: "It may be that some have mislaid tickets - and a few may have been on holiday since the draw was made."