Help me start a lottery club at work

My main concern, because I know we are going to hit the big one (:rolleyes:), is to prevent a Johnny-Come-Lately from trying to horn in on the windfall.

Here is what I envision so far:

The drawings are twice a week. I will divide the year up by quarters, providing a deadline for payment for each quarter. There are 13 weeks in a ‘round’, thus 26 drawings. Each player must pay me $26 by the deadline or they must sit out until the next round (and then, of course, pay me by the new deadline).

I will use the money collected to purchase the same set of easy pick numbers for the next 13 weeks (26 drawings), then post the numbers and the players.

My question: How do I prevent someone from telling the judge, “Hey, I was in! I paid my money! I want my share!”

Should I hand out signed receipts to each player when they pay? Should I print up a list of the players and have each sign next to their name (and retain the finalized list)?

What else can I do to solidify my position that he or she was never in this round, despite the claims to the contrary? Any other thoughts or ideas?

What someone at my old work did was to take photocopies of all of the purchased tickets, and disperse them to the participants that week. You could write each person’s name to the top, and ask them to keep it as a receipt until the drawing’s over.

We used to use photocopies of the tickets as well. Only we did quick picks. I found it a lot more fun to simply let people pay or not from week to week.

On the day of the drawing we would collect a dollar and do a QP. Then we’d buy the ticket and make a copy (copies) for everyone who was in for that drawing.

Photocopying the tickets is not a bad idea.

I’m pretty sold on the three-month blocks, though; there is no way I’m doing this one week - or one dollar - at a time.

Does anyone know if you can buy several weeks (13) at a time with the same numbers? I don’t want to have to run out to the store twice a week, either.

You have made a great start by taking time to consider what will happen if you win. Most court actions arise because work colleagues have an informal arrangement. Their ticket suddenly hits the jackpot in the week that Bob wasn’t in work or forgot to pay his share.

You need a short written agreement to say what will happen. The best format is one where you each pay a regular amount, and if you have not paid before a draw, you are not in the ticket for that draw. You have no rights as part of the group unless you have fully paid up. There will be no exceptions unless there is written consent from each member of the group before the draw happens.

The group should always use the same numbers - not quick pick numbers. In a court case in Ireland, people sued a lottery winner. In essence, they claimed that he was delegated to buy quick pick Lottery tickets for their group. He claimed that he bought the group’s tickets, then bought one for himself. Their tickets did not win, but his did. They alleged that the winning ticket was in sequence with their tickets, while one of the tickets he had given them was out of sequence. They claimed that he had removed the winning ticket from their bundle, and exchanged it for his own losing one.

I do not know the outcome or what was the actual truth of the case. But the moral of the story is clear.

I also agree with giving each person a copy of the ticket - but that is not always feasible if the tickets are bought after work.

Look at the website of whichever lottery you want to participate in, they may have a group policy guideline.

In Canada, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming corporation has this page.

Simle - for each round, people pay in and they get a share of the winnings for that round. Write up who paid and how much before the draw. Figure out things like:
What if Fred says he’ll pay and he doesn’t?
Do you have a deadline - pay by noon or no play for you?
What if Fred asks you to buy the tickets for him and he’ll pay you after the draw?
Set the rules AND STICK TO THEM and nobody will have a case.

I think the problem will come if there’s an issue I saw with a draw at work once upon a time (fortunately, we didn’t win so no lawsuits…) I think this is what happened with the $50million win in Quebec the other month.

The group buys some tickets. A few tickets win $10 or $20 or free plays. Fred was in that game, but forgot to pay the next week and wasn’t in. The petty prizes were ploughed back into the pool. The pool wins big time. Now Fred says “wait a minute, those tickets were bought with the $20 which is part mine!” The judge will put the $50M on hold until this is sorted out. If you kept getting winnings and free plays for several weeks, Fred can argue that even though he hasn’t contributed for 5 weeks, part of the jackpot is his.

The solution is obvious. Any minor prizes or replays should be kept separate - “we bought these 5 tickets with last week’s winnings so here’s the list of owners of this ticket.” Keep the tickets bought with this week’s winnings separate!!

In the office I used to work in, one person organized all this, and produced a photocopy of the ticket(s) and list of names to pass around for everyone who was in. When there’s a few million at stake, the a$$h@le down the corridor can get pretty obnoxious.

Our office pool uses the agreement that J-P L linked to. I don’t update it every week, only when a new person is added and the agreement is dated as effective :March 1 until replaced.

I distribute photocopies of the tickets and send out weekly emails with our status. I also maintain a spreadsheet of payments. I don’t collect every week but usually 4 weeks at a time (we play LottoMax at $5/ticket). The spreadsheet also tracks winnings and how they are distributed. So far that’s only been to save winnings until the jackpot reaches its maximum and we buy extra tickets with it at that point.

Oh and our rules don’t allow casual players. You’re either in or out. I don’t want to deal with the paperwork for people who can’t make up their minds.

Handing out copies raises an interesting point:

Assume Bob really paid his money, was really in on the buy, was really given his photocopy, then lost it before one of the tickets on it won. Does Bob get a share?

In other words, is the photocopy the *only *acceptable proof of the right to a share?

Or does the roster maintained by the ticket buyer also count? What if Bob has a signed photocopy but his name is not on the buyer’s roster? if the buyer does this enough weeks, eventually that mistake will happen. Or is Bob’s photocopy a forgery?
IMO, the best plan is to distribute the list of participants via email to all participants and state that protests on errors & ommisions on this week’s list are allowed only prior to the draw date. Once everybody has a copy of all correspondence, it’ll be hard for anyone to falsely claim they were in, nor for an error to wrongly exclude someone. Ideally you’d have a written & signed contract setting out your rules, but that may be impractical.
My personal take on this project that since the increase in likelihood of a hit is exactly offset by the decrease in winner’s share, I’d rather bet my own money separately from any group buy. The math works the same and this way it’s Mine, … All Mine!!! Bwahh haaa haaa haaa!!

Wel, the total expected value in dollars is the same whether you’re buying one ticket for yourself, or pooling with x other people to buy x+1 tickets, but the distribution is different. And since most people tend to get more worth out of their first million dollars than their tenth million, you could argue that mathematically, your expected utility is greater by pooling.
(Although it’s pretty much a negative play either way)

If the list of who is participating is on the same paper photocopied an distributed to all participants (or emailed) it’s a bit harder to argue over whether you are in or out based on possession of a copy of the sheet. It’s unlikely all 10 or 20 people are going to be dicks about pretending Fred was not in. (If you are that victimized, why participate in anything?) Email especially, unless the sys-op is in on it, won’t disappear.

But you do need explicit rules. You’re in or out.

What do you do about someone who promises to pay and doesn’t? Is he still in? If you have to pony up his share in case he does pay later, do you get a double share if the pot wins? Is he SOL or did you just contribute so he could win?

It’s amazing how fast consensus and general niceness disappears when there is $50M at stake.

Does everyone else want a lottery club at work? I hate working places that have lottery clubs - I feel like I have to contribute, because if they win and I didn’t, I’ll be the poor schlub who didn’t pony up a buck and doesn’t get part of the fifty billion dollars.

If you don’t pony up, you wait until the next round (in three months).

And your name will not be on the list of participants for that quarter.

As simple as that.

What about partial wins? Say, free plays or $10? Do you keep the club going past the first 3 months until no more free plays? Do you have to front 3 months’ contributions, or is there weekly collection? What if Joe stops paying after a month?

All these rules should be written, ahead of time. Or else a judge will decide them for you, and you may not like the answer.

Just decide on one of two options:

  1. The same number of tickets will be purchased for each drawing. All winnings will be put aside and distributed among the players at the end of the quarter.

  2. Any winnings under $x will be used to purchase additional tickets, with proceeds going to purchasers of the original tickets.

This will be easy to do if you limit participation to once per quarter and get all of the money up front, no exceptions. I think the plan in your OP is solid. Just make sure there’s a written list of who’s in at the deadline (maybe build in a one- or two-day grace period to allow any errors to come to light), and you should be fine.

BTW - Other jurisdictions may be different, but in Illinois I’ve never seen a “free play” prize on anything other than a scratch-off ticket. You can win $1, which most people just automatically put back into another ticket, but you don’t explicitly win a free play.

Lotto Max in Canada has free-plays if you get (IIRC) 3 out of 7. For a $5 ticket, that’s not bad.

As I said, nobody is talking about it, but my guess is the lawsuit that tied up $50M in Quebec recently was probably over what share of the prize you get for being a partial owner of a free play from a previous draw, if you did not participate in the current draw. (Unless it’s about “I was on vacation but I thouhgt you would cover me…”). Unless you keep the free plays separate from this week’s pool of tickets, it’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. Even 1/20th of 1/20th of $50M is still a lot of happy meals and I bet the guy is arguing he’s entitled to an equal share…

No, there are no free plays in the drawings. And any minor amounts we win will be held until the end of the quarter, then equally distributed.

You will have to pay up front, three months worth. If there are, say, 10 players, I will have $260 before I even buy the tickets (after which I will buy all 260 tickets). If you can’t pay up front, see me next time.

Yep. As outlined above, option 1 will be simplest to implement.

And everything else will be exactly as you’ve described, except I’m not even going to allow a grace period. You’re either all in by the deadline, or you’re all out.
Even with all this, I still envision someone crawling from the woodwork after we hit the mother lode and screaming that he paid me to participate.

I assume the burden of proof would be on that individual to somehow prove he was in? I mean, how could I prove he was not?

You distribute the rules and participant list by email and photocopy, signed and dated. Each round of tickets, photocopy and distribute before the draw (I assume it will fit on 1 sheet so you’re not massacring a forest each week. Tell everyone to keep a copy. Let’s say you collected enough money for $50 worth of tickets each week, and the photocopies show $50 worth bought, and the email went out to everyone saying “here are the names - collect your copy and it’s also on the bulletin board”. If it takes 3 months and a jackpot for the guy to notice “where’s my name?” and nobody ever heard him say it, and the number of participants match $50 not $51…

Lawsuits are judged on the “preponderance of evidence”, not “beyond reasonable doubt” like criminal cases. If there’s not a shred of evidence that he ever tried to participate, if the rules and paper trail “money must be in by the 15th” are part of that trail that says no - well, he’s go nothing to argue with. If the guy is a royal flaming douche and makes up the claim he participated out of thin air, well… there are douches in the world and you will be able to afford the best lawyer and it will cost you peanuts with that $50M. (The undisputed participants in Quebec got $30M of the $50M and they held back $20M until the court case is settled. )

Another warning - be sure to photocopy the tickets and pass the info around BEFORE the draw, especially if you, your family or friends like to play the lotto. If you ran the group and your spouse won with “a personal ticket bought separately” - there’s a lawsuit waiting to happen!