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Co-workers sue for share of lottery

Good Tuesday, friends and frienemies.

I have a moral dilemma for you today.

So office lottery pools are nothing new. Back in the day, when I was in college and working in my machine shop, the other guys and I used to throw a dollar in a couple times a month to try to win a big jackpot together. It was usually on a Friday, payday.

We never won anything. But let's say that we pool our money to buy lottery tickets week in and week out for at least two consecutive years. We do it as a team. After two years, I miss one Friday 'cause I wake up that morning with a fever and call in sick. Maybe it's a Friday in a long weekend I'm taking 'cause I'm on my honeymoon, or I'm back home visiting my folks 'cause one of them is sick. Maybe my sister's having a baby and I'm away from work that Friday 'cause I want to be there for its birth.

That Friday, my "team" buys a winning ticket.

I return to work on Monday and find out. They tell me, "Tough luck, JB! You should've been here."

I respond that we've always bought the tickets as a team and have always agreed that we win or lose as a team, and that I deserve a cut of the winnings. They blow me off and refuse to cut me in.

This scenario happened last month in Ohio with a $207 million jackpot. Four regular members of the office pool were out of the office the day the winning ticket was purchased. They're suing for a $41 million cut 'cause their co-workers told 'em they weren't at work that day so they get none of the money.

The jilted co-workers say there was a verbal agreement - a contract, essentially - that if a winning ticket was purchased they'd all share. Naturally there's no proof of that verbal agreement between co-workers.

Remember, I called this a moral dilemma, not a legal dilemma.

So I say the right thing to do morally is give the four absent workers a cut of the winnings.

What do you say?


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i'm sure some token cut would be appreciated. if their cut is 41 million then surely even a cool couple of million would be enough instead. the "winners" appear to be getting about 13 million each instead of about 10. how much difference would that extra 3 million make to their lives? a fraction of that would make a difference to my life.
i'd also like to think that the people i've worked with for a while would be better friends.


If the number of lines on the tickets = the number of people that put in money that week then too bad, so sad, caveat emptor. It has always been pay to play, you shouldn't call in sick on lotto day.

If the number of lines on the ticket = winners +4 then there is proof that it has always been all employees in, pay when you see the guy next, give them their cut.

Jeni Hill Ertmer

What lines on the ticket? I'm a bit confused and lost on that bit of advice.
However, I do believe in all fairness, someone could have easily thrown in the buck or two, don't 'cha think, to keep the others in the pot? And just on general principles, I know with that kind of jackpot, if they even gave me a measly $10,000 or a more generous amount, say $50,000 or $100,000, I'd be one very happy camper, for sure!
But greed being what it is, most likely these guys will continue to lord it over those who missed the boat on the lottery pool.

Kurt P

Personally, I'd give them a share.
They've been playing as long as they've been playing.
I agree with Jeni, and would probably have thrown something in the pot for them- and hoped they'd do the same for me. But the way morals are heading nowadays, I'm not surprised at all.


Morality tends to be personal since it involves choice, so I'll just throw my lot in with Wavemancali.


They should be given a cut.

ɔıuʎɔıʇsɐɔɹɐs ǝɥʇ

A lawyer walks into work at Dewey Cheathem, and Howe where he finds his colleagues celebrating. "What's with all the commotion?" he asks. "Oh, while you were out sick yesterday, we won that big $207 million lawsuit we were working on!"

"I can hardly wait to get my cut," thought the lawyer, as he sneezed into his handkerchief.



With most lotto pools a dollar buys 1 set of numbers or a line of numbers. If 23 people put in a buck the person buying the tickets would have 23 "lines" worth of numbers.

If the person buying the tickets bought 27 "lines" worth of tickets it's obvious that the missing people were meant to be included and they are just trying to screw them out of money.

If the person buying the tickets bought 23 "lines" worth of tickets I think it shows that it has always been a pay as you go arrangement.

Re-reading the article it looks like the winning ticket was a 5 dollar one so it's unknown how many tickets were purchased. I think however that many machines only print out tickets in 5 dollar batches. The terminals have an audit trail that could tell you how many tickets were bought during that transaction. I'm sure that information will be requested by the lawyers.

Personally I'd try to encourage the people playing to give them a share, but it's very easy to say that when the 13 million dollar check is not in my hands.


the winners are weiners.


THey weren't there. They didn't pitch in for the ticket. End of story.

BT in SA

Gotta agree with Claudia - and whoever else said the same thing. You weren't there. You didn't pay. Too bad.

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