Everyone dreams of winning the lottery, but that large sum of cash often comes with overwhelming attention. In China, they have come up with a quirky albeit effective solution.
A lucky winner from the Shanxi Province provided an entertaining press conference when he picked up his winnings, the equivalent of nearly $85 million, in a bear costume.
While it might seem a little wacky, it's common for lottery winners in many countries to want to remain anonymous. We get it — once people hear of your newfound wealth, you'll likely be bothered by exes, long-lost "friends," and questionable relatives claiming to be financial experts.
If you win the lottery in the U.S., only five states (Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, and Ohio) allow you to legally remain anonymous by keeping your name off public records. In China, though, where press conferences showing the prize handoff are televised across the country, citizens have the option to choose anonymity. Winners playing dress-up to hide their faces are not unusual.
In August, a knockoff Mickey Mouse took home a large check, and a lucky panda hit it big in 2011.
Though he looked a little out of the ordinary, the man in the bear costume gave the usual lottery win spiel: "I feel really excited. I think I will give part of the prize money to charity. I still don't have a specific plan."
He also reminded us that winning the lottery is a gamble. "I never buy lottery tickets regularly. I buy them at random," he said.
Chinese lottery winners pay a 20 percent tax on their prize money, which is about $17 million for the man dressed up as a bear.
The shop that sold the winning lottery ticket must be feeling lucky as well. It received some money from the local lottery wellness center, and the owner says his business has doubled since the prize was announced.
China, which started offering the lotto in 1987, uses the proceeds for social welfare.