Planning office lottery pool ahead can avoid headaches

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The fight over a $9.5 million lottery jackpot has a lot of people asking serious questions.

This week, a judge told a Hoosier Lottery winner she couldn't cash in, after the woman's co-workers said the ticket was part of their office pool.

Tony Bobb is all about the lottery. He is the point man for his work pool. But when it comes to buying the tickets, he has a clearly defined, well-organized plan.

"We play the same numbers every week," said Bobb.

"Get it in writing, keep good records," said Antony Page.

Page is an assistant dean and a professor of law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. He says if you end up in court, a paper trail will be your saving grace.

"They don't have to put their agreement in writing, but they should. If it's in writing, there will be less argument about what the parties agreed to," Page said.

Bobb says he hasn't thought about putting the numbers in writing.

"Not really, because I show everyone the numbers. Everybody knows what numbers we play," he said.

According to the criminal complaint, in the disputed $9 million jackpot, the stylists from the east side salon in the middle of the prize fight had rules. They included no variation in the weekly participants and the purchaser of the tickets can buy personal tickets, but not at the same location. Whether the rules were in writing isn't clear.

Rules or not, making copies of all the tickets purchased and handing them out before the drawing can also help protect you.

John Stanley runs the office pool at Eyewitness News. He not only makes copies of tickets, but keeps a detailed ledger of participants and payments.

"I've had people say, 'Well, you knew I was in,' Stanley said. "It doesn't say paid and it's a pretty simple process. You're either paid or you're not."

If buy your own tickets in addition to the pool tickets, Page says, it's a good idea to buy them at another location and in different allotments and keep receipts for everything.