Running A Lottery Pool

Many offices and workplaces enjoy having informal lottery pools amongst staff members. Participation in lottery pools can provide social interaction, encourage collegiality, and increase an individual’s chances of winning. However, they can also be a source of significant friction and sometimes even result in litigation.

A prime example of a lottery pool turned sour occurred right here in Barrie. In January of 2008, a lottery pool at a local manufacturer won a $24.5 million Lotto 6/49 jackpot. However, it was alleged that the operator of the lottery pool had not kept consistent records of who had paid and who had not, or how funds from previous small winnings would be “rolled over” to purchase new tickets. In addition, it was alleged he had allowed some members of the pool to pay for their share of the ticket after the winning draw. There was disagreement as to who should be paid their share of the winnings, and this resulted in extensive litigation, which was ultimately settled in late 2010.

How can these kinds of issues be avoided? Keeping complete and consistent records is an excellent starting point. Choose a pool Captain to coordinate play, collect payments, validate tickets and keep records. If someone is going on vacation or absent due to illness, etc. (particularly the Captain), make sure a plan is in place for what will happen in their absence. Agree in advance on a set of clear and simple rules applicable to all pool members. By keeping records and enforcing rules consistency, the risk of litigation in the event of a jackpot can be reduced.

Further advice on group play, as well as helpful forms and tools for engaging in a lottery pool are available at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s website:

About the Authors


Adam Little earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto in 1996. He graduated from Queen’s University Faculty of Law in 2000 and was called to the bar in 2002. Adam was practicising on Bay Street for a leading Toronto litigation firm that represented doctors in medical malpractice claims when he realized that helping people through personal injury litigation was what he wanted to do. “I wanted to work for the best,” he said. A partner at Oatley Vigmond had written the best-known book available about addressing jury trials, which Adam had read and admired. He wrote to the partner, went through an intense interview process and became a partner at the firm in 2005.

To learn more about Adam, please click here.