Record jackpot could bring lottery lawsuits

Bob Moon Mar 29, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: Tomorrow’s Mega Millions lottery now has a jackpot never before seen in the history of lottery — a half-billion dollars. And if you’re in one of the 40-plus states that do Mega Millions, you might think about joining up with your co-workers to buy some tickets and boost your odds a little bit.

But our senior business correspondent Bob Moon reports, you might want to think twice before jumping into the office pool.


Bob Moon: The big drawing comes just a couple of weeks after a judge ordered a New Jersey construction worker to share a $24 million jackpot with five co-workers; he’d insisted he won with a personal ticket bought separately.

The moral, as the state’s lottery director Carole Hedinger sees it: Have a clear agreement with your co-workers, not just a handshake.

Carole Hedinger: Preferably those rules should be in writing, so that everybody understands what they are.

Establish a clear line between playing for yourself, and picking up tickets for the office pool.

Hedinger: Buy the group tickets one place, buy your own tickets someplace else. Keep your own tickets separate.

And give each co-worker their own documentation.

Hedinger: Making copies of the tickets, and handing them out to everyone prior to the draw, guarantees safety for everyone.

Sounds simple enough — except you might just want to think twice about using the office copy machine.

Hedinger: I would only suggest people do that with the permission of their employers, but I know that a lot of employers join those pools as well, so maybe they’ll be in favor of making copies.

Just to avoid confusion, everyone here at Marketplace please listen up: When I win tomorrow — it’s mine. All mine.

I like the sound of that.

I’m Bob Moon for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.