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Elks Club members in fight over $21M lottery win

Canada Super 7Canada Super 7: Elks Club members in fight over $21M lottery win

It may have once seemed like a dream come true, but a winning lottery ticket has turned into a nightmare for 21 people in Okotoks, Alberta.

On Nov. 23 last year, the 21, all patrons or employees at the local Elks Club, chipped in $5 each to buy tickets for that night's Super 7 draw, one of which proved to be worth $20 million.

The members of the group should each have received more than $900,000 by now, but a dispute has arisen over who is entitled to a share.

While they attempt to sort things out, the claimants have agreed to let the Western Canada Lottery Corporation put the money in a trust account.

The lottery corporation hasn't released the names of the winners, who are keeping a low profile. Reached at his Okotoks home, Drew Devries said he belongs to the group, which purchases lottery tickets on a regular basis, but declined to comment further until the matter is resolved, though he expressed the hope that, "Maybe I'll see some money some day."

A bartender at the Elks Club on Monday also declined to comment, saying lawyers had advised everyone involved in the dispute to remain silent.

The Alberta Elks Association doesn't plan on getting involved in the dispute, said Don Neal, president of the Alberta chapter, since it seems to be a private matter that doesn't reflect negatively on the Elks.

"I wouldn't be too concerned about it," he said, adding jackpots always seem to result in someone wanting more than their fair share of the winnings.

Okotoks Mayor Bill McAlpine, who belongs to the Elks Club but isn't involved in the dispute, expressed a similar opinion. He takes part in a different lottery group.

"I know the little group that I get tickets with, you snooze, you lose," he said. "If you don't (pay for) a ticket, how can you ask for a portion of the winnings, that's my position."

The squabble in Okotoks isn't the first of its kind in Canada. In 2005, four employees of an A&W restaurant in Mission, B.C., went to court over a disputed ticket, claiming they should have received a share of the $14.5 million won by nine co-workers. The judge ultimately awarded almost $10 million to the original nine.

More recently, a Vancouver woman sued her former boyfriend, claiming she was entitled to half of a $12.4 million jackpot since she had given him the money to purchase the winning ticket. The two later reached an undisclosed settlement out of court.

Disputes over lottery winnings involving tickets purchased by a group are fairly common, said lottery corporation spokeswoman Andrea Marantz.

"It's not an uncommon story that people who play the lottery together as a group are not completely clear on who is part of the group," she said.

But there isn't much the lottery corporation can do when there's a disagreement, since while the agency hears any disputes, it can't impose a solution. People who play the lottery in groups should fill out a group buying agreement specifying who is participating before the draw, said Marantz.

But the the recent events haven't deterred people in Okotoks from participating in the lottery. Veronica Kwon, proprietor of the gas station where the group purchased the winning ticket, said lottery ticket sales there have increased since their win.

A Brief History of Canadian Lottery Disputes

  • In 2006, B.C. residents Kenneth Garbe and then-girlfriend Ludmila (Lida) Konickova win $12.4 million in the Super 7. Konickova claims she gave Garbe $20 to buy the winning ticket, but he denies it. An out-of-court, undisclosed settlement is reached.
  • In 2005, an estranged couple's lengthy fight over a $500,000 lottery windfall ends when the B.C. Court of Appeal awards the entire amount to the woman who cashed the winning ticket.
  • In 2005, nine A&W restaurant employees in Mission, B.C., win $14.5 million in the Lotto 6/49. Four co-workers come forward claiming they were part of the group that regularly bought tickets. Later, the original nine winners are given $1.1 million each, but the rest of the money is being held until the trial.
  • In 2002, 59 employees at the Universal Studios Canada warehouse in Toronto win $12.5 million in the Super 7 lottery. Each member of the group is entitled to a payout of more than $200,000. Another Universal employee claims she is entitled to an equal share of the winnings and 1/60 of the windfall is frozen while an investigation ensues.
  • In 1995, a man sues 11 of his co-workers at Hartford Fibres, a plant near Kingston, Ont., and eventually walks away with his share of a $1.15-million lottery prize.

Calgary Herald

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6 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by Stack47.
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New Member
Triad
United States
Member #57505
January 7, 2008
6 Posts
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Posted: January 16, 2008, 10:53 am - IP Logged

I'm selfish, lottery pools suckP***ed

    ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
    Idaho
    United States
    Member #56506
    November 21, 2007
    6537 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: January 17, 2008, 12:32 am - IP Logged

    Stories like these are reasons I like playing the lottery myself. 

    "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

      awwcrap's avatar - moon
      ky
      United States
      Member #37768
      April 19, 2006
      90 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: January 17, 2008, 3:25 pm - IP Logged

      I stay out of lottery pools at work

        Avatar

        United States
        Member #10720
        January 23, 2005
        933 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: January 17, 2008, 6:13 pm - IP Logged

        I jump in whatever pool I can. There is one that I join regularly on high Mega jackpots (imagine how it got my attention when I heard the winning Mega was sold in my county, even though it wasn't my numbers)... I feel like if they happen to win when I didn't put in, if they're nice they'll give me some consolation prize being I contributed many other times, but if not, then I should have put in. I certainly wouldn't sue over it. If people win who I know personally (and who I like), I am a lot happier than if stranger(s) win, even if I don't get anything myself.

          Avatar
          NY
          United States
          Member #23835
          October 16, 2005
          3474 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: January 18, 2008, 1:39 am - IP Logged

          "I feel like if they happen to win when I didn't put in, if they're nice they'll give me some consolation prize being I contributed many other times, but if not, then I should have put in."

          That's easy to say now, since they haven't won. I don't doubt that a lot of the people who sue and claim thay were part of a pool  are either outright liars or deliberately chose not to participate in the pool the time it happened to have the winner. I'm also sure that  there are people who are consistent of a pool, but occasionaly get left out when they don't want to be. If somebody misses a drawing unintentionaly because they are sick, on vacation, or temporarily working at a different location it may well be because the pool isn't well-organized and doesn't plan ahead. I could easily imagine a court ruling that somebody was  a member of the pool and is entitled to a share because they weren't  given a fair chance to participate as they usually did. It's far easier to imagine somebody who doesn't think they'd sue changing ther tune if they missed out for some reason.

            Avatar
            Kentucky
            United States
            Member #32652
            February 14, 2006
            7314 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: January 18, 2008, 7:58 pm - IP Logged

            "I feel like if they happen to win when I didn't put in, if they're nice they'll give me some consolation prize being I contributed many other times, but if not, then I should have put in."

            That's easy to say now, since they haven't won. I don't doubt that a lot of the people who sue and claim thay were part of a pool  are either outright liars or deliberately chose not to participate in the pool the time it happened to have the winner. I'm also sure that  there are people who are consistent of a pool, but occasionaly get left out when they don't want to be. If somebody misses a drawing unintentionaly because they are sick, on vacation, or temporarily working at a different location it may well be because the pool isn't well-organized and doesn't plan ahead. I could easily imagine a court ruling that somebody was  a member of the pool and is entitled to a share because they weren't  given a fair chance to participate as they usually did. It's far easier to imagine somebody who doesn't think they'd sue changing ther tune if they missed out for some reason.

            When the jackpot is high, somebody will ask other people to put in $5 or $10 along with them so they have more chances to win the jackpot and any winnings will be split among all the players. If they get 9 other players and they all put in $10, one of them will buy $100 worth of tickets.

            That is the easy way to run a pool and the only dispute would be if the jackpot rolls and somebody in the previous pool was left out. They probably wouldn't have any legal standing because another pool was created for the next draw.

            It's in the complicated weekly, monthly or permanent pools where people pay in advance the problems begin. If a pool runs long enough, there are many players that have been in and out of the pool. Nobody will claim they were wrongly excluded from the pool when nothing is won, but will when it hits the jackpot.

            "I could easily imagine a court ruling that somebody was  a member of the pool and is entitled to a share because they weren't  given a fair chance to participate as they usually did."

            The members of the pool will need a lawyer, have legal expenses, and the prize won't be paid until a judgment is made. That puts the non-member into a better position to get a settlement without eventually going to judgment. And since the lawyer could expect to get 1/3, they certainly won't turn down the case.