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The Mega Millions jackpot hit a record-breaking $540 million on Thursday morning, and has been confirmed as the largest jackpot in history. The number is expected to grow even more before Friday, when the multistate lottery will draw the winning numbers.
As lottery fever overtakes the nation, you might have noticed a growing number of office lottery pools. If you trust your co-workers, tossing in a few bucks may seem like a great idea. But remember, even trusted individuals can become a little sketchy when large amounts of money are at stake.
As such, you need to protect yourself should you enter an office lottery pool. Here are the top three ways you can do that.
1. Write it down. Create a document -- for each office lottery pool -- stating who contributed money and how much. Have everyone write down their name or signature, so that it can't later be called a forgery. Simple documents like these will stand up in court, according to legal scholar Jeffrey Toobin.
2. Photocopy it. A recent Mega Millions suit out of New Jersey could have been prevented if the individuals involved had each obtained a photocopy of the group tickets. The individual who purchased the tickets said he purchased two -- one for him, one for the group. He then claimed the ticket he bought for himself was the winner.
3. Check the law. Make sure the lottery is legal in your state. A number of states have outlawed lotteries and games of chance. Some state judges won't enforce contracts that pertain to illegal activity -- including lottery. You'll be forever angered if you can't collect the money you're owed.
If members of your office lottery pool object to any of the above, let them know the measures ensure that everyone is protected. If they still object, you probably shouldn't trust them anyway.