People all over New York have lottery fever. You may be tempted to buy a ticket with a large group of people to beat the odds. Here's what you should know before you do.

The Mega Millions jackpot was well over a billion dollars last week. The drawing was worth $1.3 billion. Many New Yorkers who can legally buy a ticket were obsessing over winning the prize. The jackpot was so high that it was even catching the attention of casual lottery players or people who have never bought a ticket before.

People often get in groups, pool their money together and buy several tickets at all at once to help increase their odds of winning.

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Sean Gladwell
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Are lottery groups legal in New York?

According to local attorney Alex Mainetti, lottery groups/pools are arguably legal in New York State if the lottery ticket is purchased legally and then entered an agreement that if your jointly purchased ticket won, then you will split the winnings. I feel that would be completely legal.

Should you get an agreement in writing?

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"I would not enter into a lottery pool without having an agreement in writing specifying the terms of the agreement.  Ambiguity in agreements is most often the root of all contract litigation.  Also participants in the pool should document their purchases of tickets, (for Example.  “I purchased X ticket on Y day for Z dollars with a photo copy of the ticket and clearly indicating your intention that this ticket be entered into the pool”. Also taxation of the winnings should be clarified in the agreement. "

- Alex Mainetti, Mainetti & Mainetti

 

What if the ticket holder in your group decides not to split the winnings with you?

 

"If a participant in the pool won the lotto and then refused to fork over the money owed to the other participants then they could definitely sue.  The lawsuit would be for breach of contract, meaning the winner breached the terms of the lottery pool agreement by not paying each member their rightfully owed percentage of the winnings.  If the member(s) won the lawsuit against the lotto winner then they would be able to enforce the judgment against the lotto winner. They could potentially attempt to foreclose on properties, garnish wages, seize assets etc... It can get pretty ugly when you go down that road."

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