Playing in a lottery syndicate can increase the fun and excitement of playing the lotto, but it’s vital to have an agreement set up before the time to make sure everyone gets a fair share of the lottery win if you are lucky enough to scoop a huge lotto win. For one syndicate member, instead of experiencing jubilation over winning a jackpot, he’s ended up having to take the leader of the syndicate to court in order to get his fair share of the lotto win.
For years a group of factory workers in south-western Sydney pooled their money together to buy Powerball lotto tickets all in the hope that their lucky lotto numbers would end up scooping a huge jackpot win and they could life the lotto lifestyle.
Like most of us, over the years the group did celebrated a few small wins, but it was one of their entries that went into a Powerball draw in May that hit the big one – a whopping $40 million Powerball jackpot!
The news spread fast around the cable manufacturing plant the next day, with the syndicate members rejoicing. Except one member, father of five, Brendan King, who was told by the production supervisor that he was not part of the winning syndicate.
When he confronted the syndicate organisor, Robert Adams, as to why he was not part of the winning syndicate, he was simply told, “"S*** happens. I run a lot of lottos."
The matter went to court
Brendan King took Robert Adams to the NSW Supreme Court in a bid to claim what he says is his rightful share of the winnings – $2.7 million.
The court heard that Mr King was a faithful contributor to the lotto syndicate operating at Prysmian's Liverpool plant and which entered into the Powerball draw in May.
Robert Adams argued that he initiated a one-off syndicate involving 14 lottery syndicate members, and that they made a larger contribution to boost the chance of winning the major jackpot, and that this was a second entry that Brendan King was not involved in.
But Mr King questioned the fact that if there was a second entry, and that he was a regular contributor to the syndicate, why on earth he was not included as well.
Mr Adams told the court he had not had the opportunity to contact Mr King.
"I'm very sorry I did not have the opportunity to ask Brendan to be part of the winning syndicate," Mr Adams said in court.
"I have been told I am the trustee for the $40 million prize and that it is not open to me to give Brendan a share of the prize as it means taking money belonging to others."
Mr King's lawyer, argued that his client had a right to be considered the 15th member of the winning syndicate, as he always thought there was only one group entering lottery in the company, and that unless members opted out of the syndicate they were to be automatically included in entries.
He continued arguing that it looked as though Mr King’s colleagues were putting up a “ring fence’ around the winning syndicate so that they don’t lose $200,000, or 8 per cent, of their prize money.
The court also heard that Mr King confronted Mr Adams the morning after the win: "Answer one question please: who of our original group has missed out or is not a recipient in this win?"
Mr Adams allegedly replied: "Only you. I'm not speaking with you. Go and see a lawyer."
Brandan King naturally also approached his winning colleagues and said: "Don't worry about what you're going to lose. I've always been a part of this syndicate. There was only ever one syndicate."
Mr Adams' told the court that when he spoke to Brandan King, that he used no profanities although he conceded, "I spoke more harshly than I should have".
He went on to say that for years he had operated several separate lottos that did not involve Mr King or the other workers who formed the regular factory syndicate.
"Brendan is my boss ... I like Brendan and I am sorry this has ended up in court," he said in his affidavit.
Mr King still works for the same company, but is now at a different plant.
The $2.7 million has been frozen pending the outcome of the civil case.
Although playing in a lotto syndicate can be a fun and cheaper way in which to play the Powerball lottery, it’s imperative that lottery players know how to set up a syndicate correctly.
Setting up a Syndicate:
Setting up a syndicate is not as complicated as you might think. The first thing you need to do is:
- Decide who's going to be in it
- How much they're going to pay for each draw
- Percentage share of any prize
Appoint a Manager
Like most groups, it’s always wise to appoint a manager. Not only will the lottery organisation only pay out the winnings to one person, but you will also need someone who will be responsible for running the group, collecting contributions, buying the lottery ticket and dividing the winnings.
Syndicate’s need to have a written agreement, that the ‘winner’ will transfer part of the winnings to each member of the group.
When you've decided who's going to be in the syndicate and before you start to play the lottery, you need to draw up a group agreement. A guideline of this agreement should include the following:
- The date the agreement was drawn up.
- The names of the group members.
- The appointed manager's name.
- How the numbers will be selected for each draw. You also need to state whether the entries will be quickpicks, constant entries and whether each member can pick their own numbers.
- How much each member will pay per draw and the corresponding percentage share of any prize.
- What happens if a member fails to pay their contribution at any time. State whether either they get nothing for that draw if there's a win or they get a percentage of what they would normally get and the rest is shared appropriately amongst the other members.
- If the group has a big win, how the members will decide whether or not they want to go public or stay anonymous.
- Whether members pay their money on the day of the draw or in advance, a record should be kept of who's paid what so everybody knows where they stand.
- The agreement must be signed and dated by each group member and should be witnessed by, we suggest, a solicitor or someone of similar standing.
- If the group changes, a new agreement should be drawn up.
- Copies of the agreement should be given to each member and the original kept in a safe place.
The lottery rules and regulations need to be adhered to, and amongst these rules is the fact that each group member must be 16 years or over to play the lottery.
As long as you adhere to the above, go ahead and play the lottery in a syndicate.
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