I knew it was coming. As I arrived at the office this morning a coworker approached to see if I wanted to get in the big lottery office pool. You see, for some strange reason, it's not "worth it" when the jackpots only $100 million. $300 million? Pffft. But now that the Powerball is over $500 million? Now it seems worth our while to head down to the convenient store up the street and plunk down a few $20's for our dream. I know. I don't get it either.

If you decide to toss money in an office pool is a few things that you should do to make sure that you're protected. 

  1. Make sure that the person collecting money, or the commissioner, is not buying some tickets on the side. In the off-chance that his personal ticket would win, you've got a legal cluster %&*#! on your hands. Save yourself the headache. Make sure that this is his or her only active lottery pool.
  2. Make sure they've got a paper to sign. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Just something that states "I acknowledge that I am in the lottery pool and I've paid my entry with the understanding that all winnings will be divided equally among players." Besides, this will prevent that one guy in the cube farm (we all know "that guy") from saying he definitely gave the commish the money but must have forgotten to include him.
  3. Agree that it will either be the lump sum cash payout or the yearly payments. Most will take the lump sum after taxes.
  4. Ask what will happen if you win a small prizes such as $10,  $18, or $25. Are we rolling that into the next drawing or are we getting our few bucks back to feed the snack machines at work next week.
  5. Make sure everyone agrees on the numbers. Will they be computer generated (quick draw) or is everybody going to suggest birthdays, how old was aunt Edna when she passed, lucky numbers, etc.. Then, get a photocopy of the tickets.

With the odds at 1 in 292 million you'll need more than luck to pull this off. But hey, you can't win if you don't play, right? 

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