State Rep. Ted Harhai, D-Westmoreland and Fayette, should find a more productive way to spend his time in Harrisburg than worrying about the privacy of lottery winners.
Harhai has introduced a bill that would allow such winners to remain anonymous.
Even though a handful of states, including Maryland, Ohio and Delaware, allow lottery winners to remain anonymous, except to the governments to which the lucky players must pay taxes on their winnings, Harhai's measure should be rejected.
Keeping such lottery information part of the public record helps bolster public confidence that the lottery is being operated honestly, especially regarding scratch-off tickets.
There already are players who - rightly or wrongly - believe major-prize instant tickets are being "planted" in certain areas of the commonwealth, such as in and around Philadelphia and Pittsburgh - that the distribution of tickets is not really as random as the Pennsylvania Lottery would want people to believe.
Then there are the players who have questioned how so many people with the same easily recognizable last names - names much less common than Smith and Jones - have, despite the big odds against it, continued to win numerous big instant ticket prizes while they themselves, after thousands of dollars of such ticket purchases, have not been able to buy even one $100 winner.
Mostly, their "wins" have been for the same amount that they paid for their tickets.
There are players who routinely access online the names and places of residence of winners, and some have asked themselves "What's going on?" after they've perused the lists - both in terms of some of the winners' not-so-common last names turning up repeatedly as well as the parts of the state where the big winners have been concentrated.
Perhaps Harhai never has checked out those lists.
Meanwhile, what motivated him to turn his attention from more important state business to lottery winners' privacy is a good question.
While a big part of lottery players' agitation is directed at instant games - players have the opportunity to pick their own numbers in the machine games - there was a night 33 years ago when the Daily Number was rigged.
Although the lottery has implemented tougher safeguards to prevent another fix, the memory of the "Triple Six Fix" remains firmly planted in the minds of lottery players old enough to remember that incident of April 24, 1980, masterminded by then-lottery announcer Nick Perry.
It must be pointed out that there are no current allegations that the Pennsylvania Lottery is being conducted dishonestly. Conincidences happen in many aspects of life.
Nevertheless, it must be presumed that somebody somewhere knows which instant ticket books contain the biggest prizes.
The lottery should routinely issue reminders of the steps taken to ensure that distribution of tickets is indeed random, as well as about what safeguards exist to prevent anyone from divulging the location of winning tickets to anyone.
Harhai should withdraw his proposal and allow the public record to prevail.
That's the best option for lottery players, lottery winners, the Pennsylvania Lottery itself and the senior citizen services that depend on money derived from the lottery.
When players lose confidence in the lottery and stop playing, everyone loses.