Another Powerball drawing is coming, but not everyone wants in on the office pool
This mom and dad won over a million dollars the day before their baby was born! Keri Lumm reports on this feel-good story.
Someone in Wisconsin nabbed the $768 million Powerball ticket on Wednesday. If it wasn’t you, don’t fret.
There’s a more modest $40 million up for grabs in Saturday’s drawing, and with March Madness basketball carrying on through April 8, there are even more chances to fatten your wallet.
So, who wants in on the office pool?
While you flit around your workplace collecting money and jotting down the names of betting participants, remember – for those who don’t gamble and those on tight budgets, getting pressured to fork over two, five, 10 or 20 dollar bills week after week can become taxing.
Or as one anti-office-pooler put it, “flat-out annoying.”
“I don’t like being pressured into doing anything,” says LaTaye Davis, 45, who refused to participate in office pools while working at a medical center near Alexandria, Virginia.
“I thought to myself, ‘How am I going to know if we win? Are ya’ll going to even tell me if ya’ll win?'” Davis says.
The single mother felt empowered to hold her money close. Still, she says that opting out of the workplace’s collective lottery tickets turned out to be an alienating experience.
Not a team player
“All of a sudden, because I didn’t want to give them my money that one time, I stopped getting invited to things. They started saying I wasn’t a team player,” Davis says.
And she’s not the only person who thinks that the circumstances surrounding cash-collecting camaraderie can be isolating.
Paige Waiver, 32, said, “I don’t want them to think I’m not a team player, but it just never appealed to me.”
Though the marketing manager who lives in Dallas never gives in, she says that she has felt pressure to give up cash for pooled tickets whenever she’s new to a workplace.
“When I was in my 20s, or when I had only been in a place for a few months, I really wanted to impress people,” Waiver says. “Still, I grew up with my parents telling me that it’s a waste of money, so I’d say ‘no thank you’ when people come around and ask.”
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It’s a burden for some
Some office managers have grown sensitive to the burden that office pool efforts put on some employees, specifically those who don’t earn high salaries.
“That’s why I try to be understanding,” says Carla Van Horn, 36, who’s an office manager and construction engineer in Los Angeles.
“I don’t want people to put in 10 to 20 bucks every week,” she says. “There are some people in our office that aren’t comfortable doing that.”
Instead, when Van Horn is at the helm of the office collection, she asks that people put in $5 at the most.
“I don’t think that’s too unfair,” Van Horn says.
Quitting the pool cold turkey
Dave Riker, 35, who works at a college in Columbus, Ohio, says that over time, office pools became too “discouraging.”
“I quit the lottery office pool cold turkey about a year ago,” he says. “It was becoming, like, $10 a week, and that didn’t seem like that big of a deal. But after several weeks in a row, there was no winner and we were dropping, like, $40 a week for something that we had no chance of winning.”
He says that most of the pressure he felt was internal. “You just don’t want to be that person who’s left out. You could be stuck going to work when everyone else is living the dream,” Riker says.
‘I told y’all’ you’d lose
Sure, no one wants to be the pool party pooper, but experts say it’s better to be upfront and honest about your disinterest than to get involved in something you don’t believe in.
“We spend a lot of time at work and our goal is to want harmony. When we decline an invitation, we feel like we are messing up that harmony,” says Elaine Swann, etiquette expert and founder of the Swann School of Protocol headquartered in Carlsbad, California. “Remember, it’s more harmonious to be truthful than to accept something you don’t want to participate in.”
The etiquette expert says that if you want to opt out when your co-workers pony up, be brutally honest without being brutal. “Just say, ‘not this time’ or ‘perhaps next time,’ and smile when you say it.”
You might feel left out temporarily, but you’re the one who lucks out if your office doesn’t win.
“I always just feel vindication when they lose,” Waiver says. “See, I told ya’ll.”
Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown
Not everyone wants in on the office betting pool, despite a $40 million Powerball prize up for grabs and March Madness continuing through April 8.
Powerball jackpot: Read these tips before joining that workplace lottery pool
Co-workers nationwide are scrambling to pool their money for a chance at the $750 million Powerball jackpot drawing Wednesday.
At face value, it might sound like a good idea – by increasing the number of people playing, you slightly increase the odds of winning.
But if the team does beat the odds, getting the money you’ve been promised can get complicated.
Horror stories abound of workplace lottery pools gone wrong. In 2012, 12 coworkers in Illinois won a $118-million lottery drawing only to be sued by colleagues who came out of the woodwork after missing out on the action.
In 2009, Americo Lopes won a $38.5-million jackpot using a ticket he bought with five other construction workers in New Jersey. Instead of telling them, he quit his job and tried to keep all the money himself.
Powerball interest, like the jackpot, is on the rise. A cool $750 million is up for grabs Wednesday night, March 27. (Photo: Hillard Grossman/FLORIDA TODAY)
And in 1999, Tonda Lynn, a Waffle House waitress, won about $10 million that her coworkers said was supposed to be shared with them. They sued, but Lynn won.
The problem is that most people don’t expect to win, so they might forgo a few necessary precautions. But experts say, don’t just throw caution to the wind just because the odds are against you.
“Everybody dreams of winning the lottery, but nobody is treating these pools like a $1.6-billion transaction,” said Jason Kurland, a partner at Rivkin Radler Attorneys at Law in New York. “But it could be, and if everything isn’t done right it could be a nightmare.”
To avoid complicated and sometimes lengthy legal situations, Kurland, who has consulted various lottery winners, said offices should be sure to do the following:
Assign a leader.
There should be a clear leader who is responsible for accepting the money and buying the tickets, Kurland said. “That person could be the point of contact for the lottery commission if you win, and they should be responsible for getting in touch with a lottery lawyer” for the group, Kurland said.
Get it in writing.
“In a perfect world, you should have something signed by the group,” said Kurland. He said that an email that includes all the participating coworkers could suffice.
He said the email should include front and back photocopies of the tickets purchased, a list of everyone who paid and steps that will be taken should you win.
Use cash – preferably.
Since you have to pay for lottery tickets with cash, Kurland said it’s easiest just to give cash to the leader.
“(Venmo) could add another layer of proof for who’s involved,” said Kurland. But, whichever you choose, he said, “be consistent.”
“Don’t accept cash from certain people and digital payments from others. It defeats the purpose. It’s simpler just to walk around and get $2 from everyone,” Kurland said.
Consider buying tickets individually.
“The truth is, 1 in 300 million is essentially the same as 20 in 300 million,” Kurland said about the odds of winning. “I get it, you don’t want to be the one person who isn’t contributing if the office wins, but if I’m going to play, I’m going to buy my own ticket,” he said.
Contributing: Kelly Tyko
Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown
Workplace lottery pools may increase your odds of winning Wednesday's $750 million Powerball jackpot, but is it wise? Here's what an expert says.