20 Biggest Office Lottery Pool Winners
Lottery pools (or syndicates) have grown in popularity almost as quickly as the available jackpots in the world’s biggest lotteries. There is a good reason for this: the appeal of paying less for a better chance of winning is something that many of us would find hard to pass up on—especially if there is a massive jackpot attached to the offer. In this article, we will look at the 20 biggest office lottery pool winners ever.
What Is an Office Lottery Pool?
Before we jump into who won what, let us clarify what an office lottery pool is. If you are familiar with lottery syndicates, then you know that syndicates allow you to “pool” your money with a group of other players. Taking this larger pool of funds, the group can purchase more tickets than anyone would be able to do individually. This increased amount of tickets translates to a considerably better chance of winning a prize.
Office lottery pools employ this exact same methodology except that, rather than being an organised syndicate like you can buy into on some online lottery websites, the pool is run by a group of co-workers who all pool their money together to purchase the tickets with an understanding that any prize will get shared equally in the event of a win.
This method of competing in some of the world’s biggest lotteries has been proven to work, and one only need to look at the big office lottery pool wins that we have outlined below for evidence.
#1: The Record-Breaking Win
In 2018, the Mega Millions jackpot reached a massive amount of US$543 million. The jackpot was being offered on the July 24 draw, and people from across the world flocked to purchase what they hoped was a winning ticket. Amongst these people were a group of 11 co-workers from an accounting firm in California. The winners, whose ages range from 21 to 61, have since admitted that it was not a regular occurrence for them to play the lottery together. However, because of the massive jackpot amount, each of the 11 decided to contribute $2 to purchase some tickets from a nearby retailer named Ernie's Liquors—which received a massive $1 million lottery retailer bonus for selling the winning ticket.
Unbelievably, the largest Mega Millions prize ever won in the state happened to belong to one of the tickets owned by the group. Each of the 11 received $29 million (as a lump sum), yet all of them agreed that they would continue working together at the company that they loved and had helped build. However, the group did not state whether or not they would keep playing the lottery together.
#2: Ocean’s 16
Named after the county in which they worked and as a spin on the Ocean’s movies, Ocean’s 16 became the winning lottery group of one-third of the US$448 million Powerball jackpot offered on August 7, 2013. Made up of 16 co-workers from the Vehicle Services Department, the office lottery pool had been playing the lottery together for a while before their big win, and each member regularly contributed $6 to purchase tickets.
The win for the group came at just the right time, as many of the group were still recovering from losses experienced due to Hurricane Sandy—which devastated the state in October 2012. Thankfully, the $86 million win meant that each member of the group received $3.8 million when split—which was more than enough to help replace any losses caused by the horrific storm.
#3: The Long Island Long Shot
At the start of 2019, a group of 23 co-workers at a retail business in Long Island, New York, did the unthinkable: they managed to win a US$437 million Mega Millions jackpot. Every week, each person in the group would put $1 into an envelope in the hope of one day hitting it big—and it finally happened when they won the state’s record-breaking prize on New Year’s Day. Opting to take the lump sum, the group members will each receive $7,658,926 after taxes.
Knowing the risks of winning the lottery, however, the group first set up a lottery trust under the name New Life LLC. This allowed the group to claim the prize anonymously so that they could still live normal lives. The group also said that if they did decide to quit their jobs, they would do so in a way that wouldn’t negatively affect the company’s owner and management.
#4: The Tennessee 20
In 2016, a lucky group of 20 workers at an auto parts manufacturing plant made headlines by winning the massive US$420.9 million Powerball jackpot offered on November 26. The group, named the Tennessee 20, had been playing the lottery together for eight years before finally winning big and usually spent around $120 every Wednesday and Saturday to help support education in the state—and to stand a chance of winning, of course.
Opting to receive their winnings in the form of a cash lump sum, each member of the group received around $12.7 million before taxes. During a press briefing, one of the group’s winners, Kevin Southerland, admitted that while the majority of the group would continue working, some may resign to enjoy their winnings. However, a common sentiment that was shared by the entire group is that they would use their winnings to help others in need.
#5: Proof That 13 Can Sometimes Be a Lucky Number
For almost ten years, a group of 13 colleagues working for the Department of Social Services in Missouri has been purchasing Powerball tickets together to increase their chances of winning. Unfortunately, the group was never the winner of anything more than a few dollars. This all changed when the group bought $60 with of tickets for the draw taking place in April 2016.
The group managed to match the winning numbers (16, 26, 34, 35, 41, and 24) and became the sole winners of the US$224.2 million jackpot—a prize well worth the wait. After visiting an attorney directly after realising they won, the group came forward to claim their grand prize. The co-workers opted to receive their winnings in the form of a cash lump sum that will be split 12 ways, with two of them sharing one portion based on what they contributed to the purchase of the tickets. Before taxes, each of the first eleven winners in the group received $8.5 million, while the remaining two winners received $4.25 million each.
#6: The Bargain Team
In 2011, a group of 20 Costco employees decided to join together and start an office lottery pool after the Powerball jackpot rose to over US$144 million. The group agreed to each pay $5 per draw and to invest any winnings back into the group to try and win even more. Their efforts paid off just one month after they started playing together when they purchased tickets for the drawing on June 1.
Amazingly, the group of co-workers, who range in age from 24 to 73, won the staggering jackpot of US$201.9 million. After creating an entity named Dodgers, the group shared $70.2 million between themselves after paying taxes—resulting in each person getting $3.51 million. The new millionaires shared some of their plans, which ranged from purchasing houses to organising family reunions.
#7: Boilermakers’ Local 203
There is not much news that comes out of the small town of Come By Chance in Newfoundland, Canada. However, this all changed in 2018 when a group of 31 employees at a local refinery won one of the largest Lotto Max jackpots ever won in the region. The 31 co-workers, who had been playing the lottery together for only a few months, had purchased around CA$155 tickets for the draw in February.
Eugene Lewis, one of the members of the group, was awake at 4:30 am the day after the draw and decided to check the results of the draw. Soon, however, he was calling all 31 members of the group to share the news that they had just won the massive CA$60 million jackpot. The elated members of the group each received around $1.8 million in winnings and some of the group, including Eugene, retired from their work soon afterwards to enjoy them. The best part is that Canada is one of a handful of countries that don't tax lottery winnings, meaning everyone got their full amounts.
#8: The Plant Worker Family
Life changed forever in 2019 for a group of nine co-workers from an auto plant in Guelph, Canada. The nine co-workers, who worked the same shift on the same assembly line, had grown accustomed to working with one another and decided to start a lottery pool in which they would each contribute $5 toward purchasing tickets. The group only began doing this toward the end of 2019 when they saw that the jackpot was growing to rather staggering amounts.
Their luck finally paid off when they held the only winning ticket for the Lotto Max draw held on December 21—which boasted a jackpot of CA$60 million. The group, which is made up of eight foreign nationals and has members ranging in age from 21 to 57, soon came forward to claim their prize and were delighted to each receive around $6.66 million. Shortly after their win some of the line workers stated that they would be retiring or pursuing their dreams of starting their own businesses—including an Ethiopian restaurant.
#9: The Sly Announcement
In 2015, a group of co-workers working for Canadian Black Book in Markham, Toronto, had been playing the lottery together every week for almost eight years. Sadly, the highest amount that they had ever won was around CA$90—not something that reflects eight years worth of investment. However, this all changed in February when the group won the largest ever Lotto Max jackpot in history (at the time) of CA$60 million.
Dennis Cartier, who was the manager of the lottery group and the discoverer of the win, kept the secret from the rest of the group until the following Monday morning—when he was supposed to be off from work. He arrived and told his co-workers that he no longer wanted to play the lottery with them before showing them the claim slip that entitled them to around $5 million each. Needless to say, the group were delighted with the news and have stated that they will continue to play together.
#10: The Whim Winners
On November 26, 2019, the Canadian Lotto Max jackpot grew to an impressive CA$50 million—more than enough for a lovely holiday and a few nice items. This vast jackpot was won by a group of six women who worked together and decided to pool their cash to purchase some tickets for the upcoming draw. The amazing thing is, the group never played the lottery together before this. In fact, the purchase was done on a whim after the leader of the group, Lyne Gendron, saw how large the jackpot had become.
The whim clearly paid off for the woman, and they gladly accepted their oversized cheque on Black Friday—not that they needed to look for deals anymore. Each woman will walk away with around CA$8.3 million. After their win, the women announced that the first thing they would be doing with the money was going on a girls’ night out.
#11: The Two-Year Jackpot
In 2011, the CA$50 million Lotto Max jackpot made history by being won by a single ticket. The ticket, held by a group of call centre co-workers employed at a Bell Canada office, was bought as part of the final tickets purchased by the group for the month. The group, made up of 19 employees dubbed the Bell 19, only started playing together a short four weeks before the historic draw.
Sadly, the win turned sour very quickly when other workers in the same call centre claimed that they were entitled to part of the prize due to them being in a separate lottery pool with some of the Bell 19 members. The battle ended in court, which resulted in each of the 19 being paid CA$1.7 million each, while the courts froze the remaining $18.4 million. Finally, two years after the win, the court dismissed the claim of the jealous co-workers and released the remaining money—giving each of the original 19 an additional $968,421.
#12: The Lucky 13
In 2009, Patricia Podridske was one of 13 employees that, coincidentally, also worked on the 13th floor of a bank in Edmonton, Canada. As fate would have it, Patricia felt exceptionally lucky regarding the upcoming Lotto 6/49 draw and decided to purchase $2 worth of tickets. However, not wanting to play alone, she passed the offer on to her co-workers, each of who also chipped in $2 towards purchasing tickets for the draw.
Patricia’s feeling of luck was entirely correct and the group, dubbed the Lucky 13, became the sole winners of the CA$49.8 million jackpot. Patricia told the press soon after the win that the whole arrangement was based on a feeling she had at the last minute and was not something that the group ever did. Luckily for the entire group, their last-minute decision led to each of them claiming around $3.8 million in winnings.
#13: The Lucky Five—Or the Lying One
In 2007, Americo Lopes and five of his colleagues at a New Jersey construction firm decided to start an office lottery pool together. Each week, the six men would put their money together and purchase lottery tickets, all hoping for a big win. This agreement continued for two years until 2009. After receiving the weekly money from all his co-workers, Americo purchased some Mega Millions tickets for the group and continued with his everyday life. Until that is, he realised that he had purchased the winning ticket for the US$38.5 million jackpot.
However, instead of sharing the winnings with his hardworking partners from the office and receiving his $6.41 million share, Americo claimed that the winning ticket was one that he had purchased individually and not one bought on behalf of the group. Needless to say, the case ended in court, and Americo was unanimously judged guilty of defrauding his co-workers by a jury. He was forced to pay each of the other five men and was heard complaining about the fact that he felt robbed while leaving the courthouse.
#14: The Lucky Oil Workers
A group of 15 oil rig workers based in Alberta, Canada, who had been playing the lottery in a pool together for a long time had nothing to really show for their efforts back in 2012. However, never deterred, the group continued to play and faithfully purchased tickets for the November 2 draw. Their persistence finally paid off when they realised that they held one of two winning tickets for the CA$50 million Lotto Max jackpot.
Keith Gould, the manager of the office lottery pool, could not believe his eyes when checking the winning ticket. He soon realised that his eyes were not deceiving him and announced the win to the ecstatic crew. Each of the 15 members, who will be receiving about $1.67 million each, have stated that they will all still continue to work on the oil rigs. They first, however, enjoyed a two-month holiday on which they intended to enjoy their winnings and get their affairs in order.
#15: The Forestry Friends
In December 2019, the Quebec lottery began the celebrations of its 50th anniversary. Little did they know that they would be outdone by the festivities of a group of 45 forestry friends and co-workers. The group, who had been playing the lottery together for years, were the sole winners of the December 14 draw and the CA$9 million jackpot.
Donald Dominique discovered the group’s good fortune after checking their ticket on his tablet and seeing a massive $9 million appear on the screen. He quickly called the other 44 members of their lottery pool and shared the good news of their win. Each member of the group received $200,000—which is undoubtedly a fantastic Christmas present.
#16: The Prize Worth Fighting For
Back in 2004, a group of four co-workers from the Toronto area were hopeful when they decided to play the lottery together. Unfortunately, after having their ticket checked by a local convenience store owner, the group was let down when they were told that they had only won CA$10. The truth, however, was that they had actually won CA$5.7 million from the Lotto 6/49 draw—entitling them to CA$1.43 million each.
The winning ticket was kept by the store owner, Hafiz Malik, who claimed the prize as his own in early 2005. After Lorrain Teicht (who was part of the winning four) discussed the matter with her friends, they started looking into the matter. They soon handed the investigation over to the Ontario Provincial Police. In 2007, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation paid over the prize to the group after the police froze all of Hafiz’s assets. He was later sentenced to one-year imprisonment.
#17: The Lucky Winnipeg Nurses
The year took an unexpected turn for a group of six nursing home workers in Winnipeg, Canada, after they won the Lotto 6/49 jackpot of CA$5 million on July 25, 2020. The group of co-workers, who had been having to endure the harsh realities of working at a nursing home in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, welcomed the win and happily shared their plans, which included renovating their homes, assisting their families, and saving for retirement.
The group of co-workers had been working and playing the lottery together for almost ten years. Marie Saltel was the lucky member who was charged with purchasing the ticket and could not believe her eyes when she saw that they had matched all the numbers. After getting her son to verify that she was correct, Marie called the other members of the group to share the great news. Each player received around $833,000.
#18: The Lucky 10
The Lucky 10—a group of 10 co-workers headed by Debra Allen who regularly play the lottery together—became the winners of a respectable US$3.2 million in a March 2018 Mega Millions draw. Debra, who checked the ticket after the draw, was excited when she thought that they had won $3,000. However, after getting her reading glasses to double-check the ticket, she was surprised to see that the group had actually won $3.238 million.
She quickly shared the good news with her co-workers and the group—who kept where they work private—celebrated together. Each of the ten lucky winners will receive an estimated US$320,000 before taxes.
#19: The 22 Union Winners
The excitement was high for 22 Union County Department of Social Services workers from North Carolina in 2018. The group of 22 co-workers, who had never played the lottery in a pool before, decided at the last minute to buy tickets together after the Mega Millions jackpot reached the historic US$1.5 billion mark. Not even knowing what a ticket costs, the group each chipped in US$1 and purchased 11 tickets.
After the draw, DeCora Bowers began checking their tickets using a lottery app. She was shocked to see that the group’s last ticket was the winner of a $1 million prize. She quickly began calling the other members of the group until everyone knew the great news—including one co-worker who didn’t even know she was part of the pool after another colleague paid in for her. Each member received around $32,000 after taxes.
#20: The Medium Win
A group of ten employees at Carpet Discount Warehouse in Charlotte, North Carolina, saw their luck peak after two years of playing every Powerball draw together. The group, who each contribute $12 per week, matched all five white balls to win a prize of US$1 million—an amount that the group leader, Charles Rush, considers a medium win.
Charles, who picked the numbers using a method he has used for years, stated that he was happy with the win, but he would continue playing until he won big—which he considers being $40 million or more. However, with each member of the pool claiming $69,250 after taxes, the group are still very happy with their win and plan to continue playing together.
While it is true that there is a considerable deal of politics attached to playing the lottery with your co-workers—as we can see from the players who tried to defraud their fellow colleagues—there is something that stands out more about all the stories above: the win. Syndicates, office lottery pools, group plays, and all other names that syndicates go by have one simple thing in common—they work.
While there is no guarantee that playing as part of a group will ensure that you win, evidence that has become apparent time and time again shows that purchasing tickets together with other players will improve your chances of winning a prize (even if it is not the jackpot).
So, if you are looking to improve your chances of winning, who better to play with than the people that you share a large portion of your life? Playing as part of an office lottery pool can be a great deal of fun and could lead to you and the people you work with receiving a rather fantastic paycheque—and post-win celebration.