Powerball Pools: The Do's and Don'ts of Office Buy-Ins

PHOTO: Customers purchase Powerball lottery tickets at a 7-Eleven store, Nov. 28, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.
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Powerball fever is sweeping the nation.

The Powerball jackpot is at a record high of $550 million. And with the winnings so high, everyone is rushing to buy a ticket in the hope that they'll be the lucky winner.

A popular means of lotto ticket purchasing is an office pool -- in which a group of colleagues pools their money, buys a slate of tickets together and promises to share the winnings equally. It can be a fun bonding experience with your co-workers, but there are do's and don'ts to abide by, on the off-chance that your ticket(s) have the winning numbers.

WHAT TO KNOW
  • A list of guidelines if you're going in on an office powerball pool

DO

Write a Contract

It may seem too serious for what's supposed to be fun and harmless, but this amount of money can make people a little crazy, so it's worth taking precautions. You don't need to draft a formal, notorized document -- a simple piece of paper with the terms of your pool and everyone's signature suffices. Make sure to store a copy of the contract in a safe place.

Make Sure Everyone Contributes an Equal Amount

Sure, if you contribute $2 and your colleague contributes $4, that's not a big difference. But if you win, that colleague will have a claim to 50 percent more of the pool than you, and that will undoubtedly create some office tension.

Photocopy the Tickets for All Participants

Yes, it's unlikely that someone would lie about the tickets outcome, say they lost when they won, claim the money, and then come into the office and continue acting like nothing had happened. But it's unlikely that you're going to win the lottery in the first place, so normal reasoning does not apply here.

Make a List of People Who Opted Out This Time

DON'T

Rely on a Verbal Contract

Words won't hold up in a court of law if someone claims the winning ticket first and runs off with all of the winnings for themselves.

Let Anyone Contribute Money on Behalf of Someone Else

It's a nice idea to include all of your colleagues, even the ones who are out of the office the day you buy the tickets, or short of cash for the pool. But if you do win, those individuals who did not actually put up any of their own money for the tickets will almost certainly not be seen as having a legitimate claim to the winnings.

Trust the Tickets to the Interns

They're working for little to no money, so their loyalty is probably low.

Run Multiple Pools at Once

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