Downsides to office pool for Powerball?

CEO issues funny lottery policy; lawmakers also watching numbers Wednesday


NAPLES, Fla. – A 1.5 billion dollar jackpot is up for grabs in Wednesday night's Powerball drawing, and many players are hoping to improve their odds by entering an office pool.

The odds of winning Powerball are nearly 300-million-to-1.

But splitting the money with co-workers could be legally dicey.

The key is documentation, attorney Rhonda Peoples-Waters said.

“The court is going to look at, 'What proof do I have that you were involved in this office pool?' And that would mean you have your copy of the receipt,” she said. “It’s definitely suggested that all parties names who are participating be written down on a piece of paper and everybody get a copy of the tickets that are going to be purchased. You put the names on that ticket, and it (should) be clear how many tickets are going to be purchased.”

The other possible downside if an office pool strikes it rich is for the office, and that’s why one business owner is taking some preventative steps.

Peter Wasmer, the CEO of Chrome Capital in Naples, issued a tongue-in-cheek policy email about what was expected from his employees if one of them won the lottery.

If one of the 50 Chrome Capital employees were lucky enough to win the Powerball Jackpot, the CEO still expected them at work on Monday morning with hot, fresh Krispy Kreme donuts.

“When these guys win the Powerball, we’re going to have a little bit of fun, but we sent out an email this past weekend advising them of our very serious lottery policy, because as a motorcycle leasing company, we take things very seriously here,” Wasmer said. “That’s tongue-in-cheek.”

Some of the other policies outlined in Wasmer's email included:

  • In the workplace, please keep your enthusiasm (including bursts of joy, screams, happy tears and perma-smiles) to a minimum. We have a business to operate, people.
  • Failure to show up at work on Monday will result in extreme jealousy and distractions for your coworkers that will make it difficult to operate our business.
  • All lottery winnings are subject to a 22 percent tariff, paid directly to the president and CEO (me) via wire transfer to an offshore bank. Why 22 percent? Twenty-one doesn't seem like enough and 23 percent seems greedy.
  • Unscheduled visits from financial planners, lawyers and long-lost, money-hungry family members will not be tolerated.

The rest of the release says: "If the lottery winning employee fails to comply with the above policies ... We don't expect to ever hear from you again."

Average Joes aren’t the only people watching the numbers. Florida lawmakers will have lotto on their minds, too.

Rep. Frank Artiles' bill passed its first committee this week. His proposal would cap the prices of scratch-off tickets at $5. Games currently go up to $25, and he said they take advantage of poor residents.

“Whether it’s today, the $1.5 billion Powerball, or next week, this is the first time in a long time that something is being done to rein in the Florida lottery,” said Artiles, R-Miami.

Artiles said he’s not playing the Powerball, but other state representatives will be watching the numbers.

“My wife already bought one,” said Rep. Joe Geller, D-Dania Beach. “(If we win), we’re going to give it to worthy causes and use a little on the home front.”

Florida Lotto Secretary Tom Delcensarie said his building in Tallahassee, where the jackpot drawing will take place, is buzzing.

“It makes it fun,” Delcensarie said. “We were selling on Saturday. We were actually selling $1,500 a second in just Powerball between the hours of 6 and 7.”

The man everyone will be watching Wednesday night, Powerball host Sam Arlen, said he’s feeding off the game’s momentum.

“No pressure, right? It’s amazing,” Arlen said. “I hope we get a winner tonight. I hope we get several winners.”

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