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Is it worth it to join an office lottery pool?

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Many legal experts will tell you there is no advantage, and only downsides, to buying a lottery ticket with a group of coworkers in an office pool. Your odds of winning either Mega Millions or Powerball are roughly one in about 300 million with a small group of coworkers or with a single ticket you bought for yourself.

The one thing that differentiates the two scenarios: the legal disputes and delays that very often follow when a group of people win.

With the combined jackpot for the two multi-state lottery games topping $2 billion this week, experts are giving a word of caution to people leaping into those lottery office pools: be careful.

“Is it probably the smartest way to do it, no? Is it inviting some litigation down the road? Yeah probably,” Brandan Davies, an attorney with Roth-Davies, LLC said. “But where’s the fun in that?”

Davies said if you are entering an office lottery pool at work, make sure you get a copy, in writing, of all of the people in the pool.

“It’s not going to stop somebody from suing you down the road,” Davies said. “But at least it will give you a leg to stand on, that clearly says: these are the people that were involved.”

It’s been the tradition at Tequila Harry’s in Overland Park for quite some time. Sydney Clark took up the drawing for last week’s Mega Millions drawing, among staffers and regulars, and is already collecting for this Tuesday’s drawing.

But Clark is collecting more than just cash.

“Everybody puts their money in here, and then we write everybody’s name on the envelope,” Clark said. “If it’s a customer we don’t see very often, we get their phone number so we can tell them if we won. And then I actually take a picture of it and I’ll text it to three different people who are in the group so they know how many people are in it.”

Some other tips from the experts on office lottery pools:

  • Only enter pools with people you trust.
  • Create rules of the pool.
  • Assign a pool leader who will track the money and possible winnings.
  • Make photocopies of the tickets for each pool member.

And, finally, keep a consistent list of players from jackpot to jackpot. Especially if your group takes a small amount of winnings from one drawing toward tickets in another jackpot.

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