With Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot expected to reach $400 million (the sixth largest in history), there is the inevitable collective purchase of tickets in the office or within your group of friends where everyone pools their money, purchases a bunch of tickets, and agrees the split the prize if you overcome the 1 in 292.2 million chances of winning the jackpot.
But even though the odds are low, there are some important things you need to think about when embarking in this group endeavor. Remember “The One with the Lottery” episode of Friends when this happened?
For this to go right and not result in a war with your cube-mate Larry or your bestie Sally, you need to establish some ground rules. Learning from our favorite sextet, here are some lessons for buying group lottery tickets.
1.) Check Your Company’s Gambling Policy
If you are doing this at work, beware: lots of companies have no gambling policies, and organizing or participating in a group lottery purchase falls under that. If that’s the case, you have two options: A.) be Ross and don’t participate or B.) don’t use company email to discuss, keep it on the DL, and hope that you win enough to quit. Your call.
2.) Have An Agreement
Joey wanted to buy the Knicks with the group’s hypothetical winnings. But Chandler didn’t, and it led to a fight before the numbers were even drawn. So you need to have an agreement in place, preferably signed by everyone participating, that details how this is going to go down, including whether you are doing to do quick picks or choosing the numbers; who is going to claim the jackpot (the lottery will only make payments to one person – the one that signs the back of the ticket); and if you are going to split the money evenly amongst all parties, or pool the money to something expensive like a sports team, an island or a Kardashian. (For the record, the Knicks are worth more than $1.1 billion, so no luck there.)
3.) Keep a List Of Who Gave What
Maybe I’m a nitpicker, but one thing that always bugged me about this episode was when Monica threw in 20 bucks for Ross to participate – after the tickets had already been purchased. So did some of the other Friends get their money back? How did that work? The lesson here is to keep a list of who is participating and who gave what. The easiest way to manage the whole thing is to have everyone give the same amount, and split the jackpot evenly, but you can do different contributions and percentages if you want to get fancy. Either way, you should still write down who gave what – just in case Joe from accounting tries to claim he threw in after you hit it big.
4.) Pick An Upstanding Manager
The group sent Monica, clearly the least trustworthy character, to buy the tickets. This resulted in her purchasing extra tickets for herself, which she seemingly hid in the worst places ever (Your nightstand? Your bra? Amateur), while Joey was looking at the girly magazines. The obvious choice would have been Phoebe, who would rather sacrifice the tickets to a pigeon then see her friends fight. In other words, you need to pick the most honorable person in the group to not only purchase the tickets, but also to hold onto the originals and claim the jackpot. And maybe not let them go out onto a windy balcony with the bowlful of tickets.
5.) Make Copies Of The Tickets And Give Them To Everyone Participating
Of course, this won’t do anything if the case of the aforementioned pigeon attack, but at least everyone will know if the manager switched the winner out for “extra” one she had hidden in her shoe.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been elected the manager of our office pool, and I’ve clearly got some work to do before tomorrow night’s drawing. .
Image via YouTube