What happens when you agree to split lottery winnings with co-workers??

With the perennial hype surrounding the large lottery jackpots, we, as New Jersey civil attorneys, read an interesting case where six friends and co-workers had agreed to pool their money to buy lottery tickets, with the understanding that they would split the winnings.

One of the friends would buy a dozen plays in the Mega Millions Lotto, whenever the jackpot was over $50 million. They never signed any agreement, and there was really no evidence to show that the co-workers agreed to split the jackpot, except for the testimony by the people involved. One day, the woman who bought all the tickets actually won the jackpot.

At first, she didn’t say anything about winning. Then she denied that they had agreed to split the winnings. Is this a binding agreement? Does she have to give everyone a cut of the jackpot without any signed agreement? Well, a Union County jury said that she did have to split the winnings due to her breach of contract and fraud.

Of course, it is always better to have the agreement in writing, but if you and some friends all chip in for lotto tickets and you hit the Mega Millions, you could win a lawsuit if the ticket holder refuses to share the winnings.