On Your Side Alert: Tips for office lottery pools

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - When the lottery reaches an impressive jackpot, you've probably pitched in a dollar or two for an office lottery pool. They may be fun and exciting but if you're not careful, those couple of bucks could turn into a nightmare experience.

"It is fun and safe until somebody wins," Legal expert, Steve Benjamin tells us. He reminds us there are some risks. "I think the greatest risk to being in a lottery pool is you might end up losing long time friends," he says.

Benjamin says first, make sure your employer doesn't have rules against office lottery pools. Another biggie, make sure you understand how your pools works. "We have had cases where people have been part of the pool for a long time and then one particular week, and of course it is the week that the winning ticket is purchased they fail to pay their one dollar," Benjamin says.

John Hagerty, with the Virginia Lottery says if you win, the entire group has to stop by Lottery Headquarters to collect the prize. He says before you make it here, make sure you have any problems worked out. "It's not the Lottery's place to figure out who is telling the truth and it is not the Lottery's place to mediate but the Lottery Director does have the ability to say hold on, we are not going to pay this prize until all this gets straightened out," Hagerty says.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind: Designate a pool leader, make a list of all the members, make copies of the pool tickets and remember, repeat this process for every new drawing.

"If you go into litigation, the only true winners there are the lawyers. Use common sense, think of every question that might arise in the happy event that one of those tickets wins and try to answer those ahead of time," Benjamin says.  Bottom line, if Lady Luck strikes, make sure you're prepared.

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