When it comes to money, it’s always a good idea to never make assumptions. For example, if you’re playing the lottery with a group of friends, don’t assume that everyone will remain honest if you win. A group of lottery winners in Australia is learning that lesson the hard way.
A group of lottery players in Perth, Western Australia, regularly chipped in to buy tickets, hoping that one day Lady Luck would smile at them. Week after week, there were never any issues, but there were also never any major jackpots.
That changed in November, according to The West Australian. The individual the group had selected to routinely purchase the tickets decided to keep the money for himself after the group finally hit the big time.
No Love In Lottery Win
Trent Bowden bought a lottery ticket for his 10-member group using the same set of numbers they always used. On October 29, after repeated misses, the numbers finally delivered a reward of AUD2,200 (US$1,496).
He then used that money to purchase tickets for the Oz Lotto draw on November 1, which produced a prize worth AUD$2,802 (US$1,905). Once again, he rolled the winnings into another draw. This time, it was the Oz Lotto draw on November 12.
The group won the AUD1.5 million (US$1.02 million) prize. However, if it were up to the man who bought the ticket, they were never going to see a penny of it.
Bowden went to claim the prize as himself, an individual, not as the representative of the group. Therefore, he collected the winnings and, in theory, wouldn’t have to share with his lottery circle.
The other 10 members of the group aren’t taking the issue lying down. They have already launched a lawsuit against Bowden, as well as Western Australia lottery operator Lotterywest. The latter’s involvement is due to its ability to recognize or deny lottery winners.
There’s little chance that the case will make it to a courtroom – the financial loss would be too great. However, there is already a precedent for arbitration in cases like this, and a settlement will likely be reached.
The plaintiffs have brought in an experienced lottery attorney, Cally Hannah, to represent them. Hanna represented a couple who found themselves in a similar predicament a few months ago.
That case involved over AUD63 million (US$42.81 million) and involved accusations of one member of the group running off with more than his share. The parties decided to settle their differences, but no information on the final arrangement was ever released.
When it comes to money, there’s no such thing as a gentlemen’s agreement. It’s important to get everything in writing from the start. This is especially true in the US, where gambling laws are convoluted and vary from state to state.
Also in the US, some states don’t allow contracts for gambling, which makes it even more important to verify the legalities. There may be zero recourse in the event a lottery pool wins, and someone decides to run off with the money.
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