Group Play 101: How Do Lottery Pools Work?
What is a lottery pool?
A lottery pool is a fun way to play your favorite Illinois Lottery games with a group of people. Lottery pools may be referred to as office pools, lottery clubs, lotto pools, or lotto clubs, but they are all the same thing - a group of people who pool their money together to collectively buy lottery tickets and split the winnings. While most lottery pools are office lottery pools, you can start a lottery pool with friends or family as well. Participating in a lottery pool allows you to increase your odds of winning due to the increase in the number of tickets that are purchased.
Lottery pools can be created for a one-time jackpot or can be on-going. Many lottery groups have been in operation for years.
There are two primary roles in a lottery pool: leader and member.
Leader: Most lottery groups have one leader. This person is responsible for overall lottery pool management including member tracking, money collection, ticket purchasing and winning tracking. Some groups also select to add a coordinator role to their lottery pool. This role can assist the leader with such tasks as buying tickets and posting winning numbers.
Member: The number of members in the pool can vary. The larger the number of participants in the lottery group, the more tickets the group can buy and the greater the odds of winning. Each member is responsible for providing funds to the leader by the designated deadline. As a member you’ll want to be sure your pool leader provides you information including copies of tickets, accounting logs of who has paid/not paid and member lists.
How do lottery pools work?
Group play with lottery pools can be simple and easy to operate.
Money collection: The lottery pool leader collects money from all of the members in the lottery group by the designated deadline prior to the jackpot drawing. Many office lottery pools post signage at work to alert the group of key deadlines. Alerts can also be sent via email.
Ticket purchasing: Tickets are purchased with the collected funds by the lottery pool leader. Many groups make copies of the purchased tickets for everyone in the group.
Winning: When the groups wins, the funds are distributed based on participant contribution (e.g. $1 gets 1 shares, $2 gets 2 shares, etc).
Reinvesting: While we hope you do win the jackpot, for smaller wins, some lottery groups choose to re-invest the money for future jackpots.
Member tracking: The best way to keep track of your lottery pool participants is with a signup sheet. We have created the Illinois Lottery Pool Group Signup Sheet should you wish to use. This sheet should be completed for each jackpot drawing, identifying each participant and level of investment for the upcoming drawing.
Record tracking: Keeping track of records for a lottery pool is essential and a central role of the lottery pool leader. Keeping accurate records helps to ensure a fair, fun and well-executed lottery pool. The pool leader should keep track of all information relating to the pool including member participation in each drawing, monies collected for each drawing, tickets for each drawing, record of winnings and record of prize distribution.
What happens when your lottery pool wins?
If your prize is $600 or less - only one person can claim it.
If your prize is $601 to $999,999 - a group can claim it if:
- The claim form is filled out in one person's name.
- The claim form is filed with form IL-5754 (available from the Lottery claim center or the Illinois Department of Revenue).
- The IL-5754 form is filled out with the name, address and Social Security Number of each person in your group.
- A winner questionnaire is completed by each person in your group.
- Each person listed on the secondary form will receive a check for his or her portion of the winnings.
If your prize is $1 million or more:
First off, that's awesome. A group may be entitled to form a partnership and secure a federal identification number. If members of your partnership want individual checks issued, they must state their preference in the formal partnership agreement and must attach the agreement to the claim. Full names and Social Security Numbers are required.