Big lottery jackpots prompt many people who don’t usually play the lottery to buy tickets. Buying tickets in a pool with friends or co-workers can be attractive as a way to increase your chances of winning. If you want to join in, there are things you can do to prevent problems. While the common saying, “get it in writing” is a good idea, there’s a little more to it than that.
“Getting it in writing” is the best starting point. Have every pool member sign the written agreement. Be sure all pool members are over 18. The agreement should state that the group is buying lottery tickets together, and how any winnings will be split. If there is a schedule for buying tickets with due dates for contributions, specify it. Then, stick to it. You will have a problem if you sign an agreement that everyone signing the agreement splits proceeds equally, and then it turns out one person didn’t turn in their money in time for the purchase.
The next problem is how to know that a particular lottery ticket is a group ticket, rather than the purchaser’s individual ticket. Here are some options to prevent confusion (whichever one or more you choose should be spelled out in the written agreement):
1. Have a person buy group lottery tickets who does not also buy individual tickets for themselves.
2. Purchase group lottery tickets at one store, and individual tickets elsewhere.
3. Make copies of the group tickets (or scan and email them) to distribute to all pool members ahead of the drawing. If it is an office pool, be sure the boss approves using the copier or company email for this purpose; if not, make your copies elsewhere and/or send email from home to personal email addresses.
As Grandma said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (and is better than litigating with your friends or co-workers). Good luck!
Kim K. Steffan is an attorney with Steffan & Associates, P.C. in Hillsborough, NC. She can be reached at 919-732-7300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was last updated in January 2020.