It just goes to show how critical it is to have an agreement in place.
This will get resolved, and the winners will get their money but they’re in for a painful delay and some expensive legal bills.
Here’s what happened:
A group of 12 bakery workers – a Bakers Dozen perhaps – won the $118M Mega Millions jackpot on the 4th May this year. They just came forward to cash-in the ticket.
But 5 other people have also come forward and claimed they are part of the syndicate group.
Now these aren’t those crazy ‘me toos’ who just want 5 minutes of publicity before they crawl back under a stone (like Matt Hayduk had to endure).
These are 5 other workers at the same bakery, who were also members of the syndicate. So why the dispute?
The Bakers Dozen deny the other 5 members were included in the draw. The Outlaw 5 say they were included in a small win in a previous draw – and those winnings were used to buy the big winning ticket. Which is what they normally do with small wins.
Until they sort themselves out, the Illinois lottery company has said they won’t pay the claim.
So what’s gone wrong?
Two things. Firstly, the green eyed monster of course – greed. It seems most likely that one group isn’t being truthful here, motivated by the prospect of either missing out on somebody elses win, or having to share more than they want to.
(Unless there genuinely is so much confusion over tickets, winnings and members that nobody really knows for certain..!?)
Which brings us to what really went wrong of course – the fact that they didn’t have any formal agreement in place.
If you play in a group, be it family, friends, co-workers or strangers, you should always get a syndicate agreement in place. If you play in a professional lottery syndicate it will already be there from the moment you sign-up.
So what happens now?
The Bakers Dozen have 2 easy options. They could simply agree to share with the other 5 and get paid now. But if the Outlaw 5 are genuinely trying it on (shame on them if so) then they may take the second option.
Which is to agree with the lottery company to put aside the portion of winnings the Outlaw 5 would/could be entitled to, and receive a payout now of the remainder.
Then leave the lawyers and courts to resolve the rest like the Bell Canada workers did.
But the takeaway here is of course, get an agreement in place… before you win!