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Beware of sharks swimming in your office lottery pool

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Beware of sharks swimming in your office lottery pool
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Linda Sebastian enjoys her job , but she knows exactly what would happen if the members of her office lottery pool hit their numbers and won Wednesday's record $500 million Powerball jackpot.

"My group, we'd wipe our whole floor out," she laughed. "There'd be nobody left in the office."

Even her boss is a member of the pool. "I tease him all the time," she said. "I say, 'I'll meet you at the lottery headquarters.'"

But if you join an office lottery pool, you may want to consult a lawyer first. Some workers who had thought they struck it rich have wound up in bitter litigation over who was really in the pool and who wasn't.

Lawsuits involving lottery pool winnings have been common enough to create a new set of case law, said Russ Weaver, a University of Louisville law professor. A cursory Google search shows some "Lotto lawyers" across the country who specialize in such disputes.

"Be very careful in advance," Weaver advised. "One thing you don't want to do is end up in litigation. Attorneys will eat up quite a bit of your winnings."

Weaver's advice for people who want to join workplace lottery pools: Make photocopies of the group lottery tickets and distribute them to members before the drawing so there's clear proof which tickets belong to the group and which belong to individuals.

Weaver said you need to be able to show, "Did you make the decision before or after the numbers came out?"

Just this March, a judge ordered Americo Lopes of New Jersey to share a $38.5 million jackpot with his lottery pool despite Lopes' claim that he bought the ticket on his own.

And after a March 30 drawing for a nationwide record-breaking $656 million Mega Millions jackpot, a lottery pool scandal erupted when Mirlande Wilson of Maryland came forward to claim the prize. Members of the lottery pool she participated in at a Baltimore McDonald's where she worked said they were entitled to part of the winnings, but Wilson claimed she bought the ticket on her own.

She later said she lost the ticket, and another group came forward with a winning ticket. Wilson's former co-workers sued her in October, claiming she secretly gave the lottery ticket to the second, smaller group so she would not have to split the money with as many people.

Not all winning lottery pools end unhappily.

Bonnie Bullock, for example, was among the "Nukote 22," a group of 22 co-workers who won a $61.5 million Powerball jackpot in September 2007. Even after winning, she said, nobody quit at the Nukote International customer service center in Bardstown, Ky.

"We were such a family," Bullock said. "We had worked together so long and knew each other so well."

The day the group went to claim their winnings, four of them stayed behind to work the phones at the office, including one woman who returned from vacation to help.

Nevertheless, the company's executives rushed to the Bardstown office.

"They thought we were going to leave that day," Bullock said. "They came up from Nashville in carloads. We were customer service — we held the company together. They wanted us to train them in a couple of days. They were shocked we weren't going to leave. I can imagine it was mind-boggling."

The company has since closed the Bardstown office, but the Nukote 22 still play the Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries every week, Bullock said. They even gather for monthly dinners.

Sebastian, who was among those buying lottery tickets Tuesday in downtown Louisville, is hoping for a happy ending too. She said her group normally varies from five to 15 members, but has grown to 20 participants since the Powerball jackpot swelled.

One of her co-workers, Kathy Coombs, said members of the pool talk about two things: "Who's going to stay at work and what we'd do with our money."

Louisville Courier-Journal

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27 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by TheOtherOne.
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zinniagirl's avatar - flower avatar_0026.jpg
nc
United States
Member #99522
October 26, 2010
236 Posts
Offline
Posted: November 28, 2012, 9:29 am - IP Logged

Wise advice about the photo copies of ticket numbers before the numbers are drawn for those in groups!

    golfer1960's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcRrT_aqD1AR0JipFSPNrYwpV7HY4uVoKxOgcUYLzZ3SEdif
    Eatontown, NJ
    United States
    Member #119675
    November 29, 2011
    554 Posts
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    Posted: November 28, 2012, 9:48 am - IP Logged

    Hey, where is Ridge? Anybody heard from Ridge? Are you out there Ridge? I miss hearing from you brother!

    Ridge Runner

      gocart1's avatar - lighthouse
      da bronx,city island,n.y.
      United States
      Member #30516
      January 17, 2006
      333 Posts
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      Posted: November 28, 2012, 10:03 am - IP Logged

      Never like lottery pools for that reason...

        sully16's avatar - sharan
        Listens to the wind
        Michigan
        United States
        Member #81740
        October 28, 2009
        20392 Posts
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        Posted: November 28, 2012, 10:18 am - IP Logged

        we had a lottery pool at work for about a month, I prefer to go solo.

        There's only one US Flag

          Cletu$2's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
          S.E.Iowa
          United States
          Member #120509
          December 21, 2011
          534 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: November 28, 2012, 10:23 am - IP Logged

          Simpler to just avoid pools altogether.

          When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President; I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow

          There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators. ~Will Rogers

            gocart1's avatar - lighthouse
            da bronx,city island,n.y.
            United States
            Member #30516
            January 17, 2006
            333 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: November 28, 2012, 10:38 am - IP Logged

            Simpler to just avoid pools altogether.

            I Agree!

              savagegoose's avatar - ProfilePho
              adelaide sa
              Australia
              Member #37136
              April 11, 2006
              2815 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: November 28, 2012, 10:41 am - IP Logged

              our state has an option to buy  syndicated tickets.   that print out the shares. ie if there where 10 people in the pool there would be 10 tickets, and the price on ea ticket is 1/10th of the full purchase price.

               

              and you guessed it, when claiming and you cash the ticket, you get 1/10th the  prizes won by that ticket.  as the pool manager you could end up getting stuck with 3 shares that no one wants to cough  up the cash for untill after the draw.  but if it was a winning set you would have 3x the prizes. so you reall just on sell the shares to interested people.

               

              it would be ran by collecting everyones cash, asking who is going to cover the missing people, and getting 2x the money from them. then going store and buying what you can for the amount of shares you need.

               

              then if anyone was covered by someone else, handing the 2x tickets to ther coveror, and  clearing yourself of any cash outlay or hassles.

               

               

              its not as sociable but hey saves on lawyer fees

              2014 winnings S= spent W= won

              JAN S 119/ W71;  FEB S90 /W 13 ; MAR S93/ W75;  APR S146/ W50 ; MAY S94/ W32 : JUN S98 /W 13 JUL S110 /W21; AUG S185 / W56 SEP S 140/W 13 ; OCT S 130 / W 66

              S $1292W $450Tot -$840

               

                megan81's avatar - 1348597904
                NJ
                United States
                Member #133274
                September 25, 2012
                40 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: November 28, 2012, 11:22 am - IP Logged

                I'm in a pool with my father. He laughed at me when I made him sign a contract, and he never reads the emails I send him with the numbers played, date/time/place the tickets were purchased, and copies of the tickets. He will be thanking me when we win!!!

                  mediabrat's avatar - 18z0typ
                  upstate NY
                  United States
                  Member #108795
                  March 31, 2011
                  541 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: November 28, 2012, 11:27 am - IP Logged

                  "They thought we were going to leave that day," Bullock said. "They came up from Nashville in carloads. We were customer service — we held the company together. They wanted us to train them in a couple of days. They were shocked we weren't going to leave. I can imagine it was mind-boggling."

                  The company has since closed the Bardstown office, but the Nukote 22 still play the Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries every week, Bullock said. They even gather for monthly dinners.

                  Ouch.  That's loyalty for you.  "What's that, you're not going to quit?  Too bad, you're all out of a job anyway!"  Bash  Cussing Face

                  And obviously they found other people to "hold the company together".  Roll Eyes

                  States do not win the lottery.  PEOPLE win the lottery.

                    Win$500Quick's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                    Florida
                    United States
                    Member #77815
                    August 1, 2009
                    3288 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: November 28, 2012, 11:39 am - IP Logged

                    My lottery pool has 1 member. Me!

                    Numbers Don't Lie!

                      dallascowboyfan's avatar - tiana the-princess-and-the-frog.jpg
                      Oklahoma
                      United States
                      Member #82391
                      November 12, 2009
                      5484 Posts
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                      Posted: November 28, 2012, 11:43 am - IP Logged

                      Just when I thought we would never hear about Mirlande Wilson......Bang Head

                      I Love Pink & Green 1908

                        jeffrey's avatar - moon
                        Hamilton, OH
                        United States
                        Member #4162
                        March 27, 2004
                        277 Posts
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                        Posted: November 28, 2012, 11:45 am - IP Logged

                        i was in a lottery pool at work. i don't watch sports and won the football pool. i also won the christmas card game. i was never asked to play these again. i don't  trust those guys for a shop pool. that company closed its doors shortly after i left.Bash

                          jeffrey's avatar - moon
                          Hamilton, OH
                          United States
                          Member #4162
                          March 27, 2004
                          277 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: November 28, 2012, 11:54 am - IP Logged

                          i was in a lottery pool at work. i don't watch sports and won the football pool. i also won the christmas card game. i was never asked to play these again. i don't  trust those guys for a shop pool. that company closed its doors shortly after i left.Bash

                          dear budda, i would like to be able to walk, talk and use my hands. i would like to have my ms cured. oh yeah, budda, make me the jackpot winner of the huge 500 million powerball. thank you budda, your friend jeff.Noel

                            grengrad's avatar - nw rogue.jpg
                            Raleigh
                            United States
                            Member #49057
                            January 17, 2007
                            171 Posts
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                            Posted: November 28, 2012, 12:28 pm - IP Logged

                            The nice thing about a lottery pool is that I get to pick the numbers for 100 tickets for tonight's drawing.

                            A lot more than I would buy on my own.

                            I protect myself with a very simple contract that everyone signs. I am sure it is not flawless, but it is enough to establish who was in the pool and who wasn't for a court case.

                             

                             

                            The following individuals agree to join a lottery pool for the Powerball drawing on 11/28/12.

                            Each participant shall have contributed $5 prior to signing this document. Only the participants who have contributed $5 and signed this document shall be eligible to share in the winnings from this drawing.

                            In the event that prizes are won, with a total equal to or exceeding $1 per person, the lottery pool manager (MY NAME), shall oversee an even division of the prizes amongst the participants.

                            In the event that prizes are won, with a total not equal to or exceeding $1 per person, the lottery pool manager (MY NAME), shall donate the prizes to the Red Cross.

                            Under no circumstances will any prizes will be carried over to a future drawing.

                            This agreement shall not automatically renew and shall expire after the 11/28/12 Powerball drawing.

                            In the event that the jackpot prize is won, and settlement options are provided (Annuity or Cash), the vote of the majority of the pool members shall decide. 

                            This is the entire agreement of the parties and there are no agreements express or implied not stated herein. This agreement may only be altered in writing signed by all parties.

                             

                            Dated:   11/28/12

                             

                            Signed by All the Parties

                             

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