LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Since no one ticket matched all six Powerball numbers Wednesday night, the jackpot — which was already $500 million — has soared to a record $700 million — the largest jackpot in North American history.
But if you’re playing as part of an office pool, there’s a few things you need to know before pooling your money together.
KCAL9’s Peter Daut outlines some facts new millionaires wish they knew before the big check showed up.
A lot of people — Powerball is played in 44 states, Washington D.C., the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico — are dreaming big. The dream only takes $2.
“I’d buy an NFL franchise,” said one man. “I’d probably by a home, buy a car,” said a prospective buyer.
Despite the overwhelming odds, Daut reported the chances of winning should keep those dreams relatively humble. You’re more likely to get eaten by a shark. Or to be struck by lightning.
But the belief a richer life is right around the corner, of course, is what fuels lottery fever. Pools of co-workers are no different.
But Daut spoke to a lawyer who said to be careful — office lottery-pools have led to bitter lawsuits and large settlements.
A group of women in Orange County were sued by a co-worker at Kaiser Permanente after they won a $315 Mega Millons jackpot in 2005.
The co-worker who sued, claimed he was part of a long-standing “oral” agreement to be included whenever the group pooled money to buy lotto tickets. A judge eventually threw out the lawsuit.
“I think if things are not documented the right way, you risk a high likelihood that something like that can happen,” said attorney Farid Vaghoubtil.
The attorney says he’s handled several cases involving lottery winners and office pools gone bad. He recommends that before the drawing:
• Email a list of who’s in the pool that week.
•Copy the tickets and email that copy to everyone so it’s clear which tickets are the pool tickets.
• Designate a leader who is responsible for administering the pool.
The bottom line?
“If it’s not in writing it didn’t happen. Make sure it’s in writing,” Vaghoubtil said.
It’s important advice — clearly. You and your co-workers don’t want to end up spending some of your winnings on legal fees.
For the latest on jackpot information (including amounts, how and where to play), click on the California Lottery website.