Compared to other states, Oklahoma came into the lottery business a bit late. But that doesn't mean we can't do a better job with the one we have than other states do with theirs.

A proposal by a state senator that attempts to close what he perceives as a lottery loophole seems like a good way to fine-tune what appears to be a working lottery system. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, wants to keep lottery winners from seeking anonymity through hastily formed trusts.

Sen. Jolley plans to introduce legislation disallowing trusts from collecting lottery winnings unless the trust actually purchased the winning ticket. Two winners in recent months have claimed their prizes through trusts.

When the lottery was formed, transparency was pledged by the governor and others promoting it. Winners and their hometowns would be available and the finances would be open for scrutiny.

However, the trust element undermines the integrity of the lottery. "I think winners being anonymous trusts instead of real people cause problems with both accountability and trust of the lottery," the senator said in a press release.

He brings up some good points. Are the people winning actually eligible to win? Are they in-state residents that are hoping to avoid taxation? Is the winner actually a deadbeat dad who owes tens of thousands of dollars in child support but will avoid having to pay it by placing the winnings in a trust?

Sen. Jolley wants to ensure that all trusts have personal taxpayer identification numbers. No one faults lottery winners for seeking anonymity but that wasn't part of the original plan. If they want anonymity, they should invest in mutual funds.

This Week's Circulars