Lotto syndicates – are they worth it?

Ever since Gary Baron allegedly won the Powerball in a syndicate, we have questioned whether or not they are worth it – because just like Mr Baron’s syndicate members, we could get scammed out of winning millions.

We take a look at what a lottery syndicate is and how they work, as well as whether they are worth playing by taking a look at past examples.

What is a lottery syndicate?

The more tickets you buy in a lottery game, the more chances you have of winning. This is why a lottery syndicate offers players more chances to win, as they allow players to purchase more games for the same price as they would individually, as they see a group of players all putting in to buy a number of tickets.

So while you may only put in what you normally do for a smaller amount of games, due to a number of people putting in, you will then get to play a larger amount of games. If the syndicate does win, then the Division prize is shared equally amongst all players who put money in.

What Australian lotteries offer syndicates?

There are four lottery providers in Australia, specifically the Golden Casket in QLD; the NSW Lotteries in NSW; the Tatts Group in NT, VIC, and TAS; and finally the SA Lotteries in SA.

Some lotteries are connected around Australia, meaning the prize pool is bigger, while others are state specific. Regardless, there are quite a few lotteries which offer players the chance to participate in a syndicate.

  • Monday, Wednesday and Saturday draws (Lotto in NSW, Gold Lotto in QLD, Monday and Wednesday Lotto in VIC, NT, TAS and around the world, and X Lotto in WA)
  • Powerball
  • Oz Lotto
  • The Pools (6 from 38’ in NSW)

How to buy a syndicate lottery ticket

Buying a syndicate ticket is similar to buying a regular lottery ticket, there are just a few differences.

Unfortunately, syndicate tickets can’t usually be purchased online; rather, they have to be bought at an outlet. You’re nearest outlet can be found here, or follow our links on this page and our site to find out how to buy them over the Internet.

Additionally, we have a step-by-step guide to make buying a syndicate a lot easier.

  1. Work out who is going to be in the group, and who is in charge of collecting the money and purchasing the lottery ticket
  2. The leader can download a group entry planner from the Tatts website or here to record all of the names of the syndicate members
  3. Collect money
  4. Purchase the ticket/s and wait for the outcome

It’s important to note when purchasing the ticket/s, you need to pick the game you have all chosen to enter and mark the ‘Syndicate’ option rather than the ‘Standard’ option when filling the form out.

Why participate in syndicates?

Whether you participate in a syndicate with your work colleagues, a group of friends, or even a selection of strangers, by pooling your money together to enter a larger number of games, you are increasing your odds of winning. So the more people who join in on your syndicate, the more tickets you are able to buy and the better the odds of winning the huge jackpot, or even the second, third, fourth, etc., Division prizes.

So the most obvious reason players participate in syndicates is that it increases your chances of winning, but other reasons include that it can be more fun as a group and can even create something in common with colleagues you wouldn’t normally associate with. Members also will most likely receive some money back as the more tickets there are the more chances there are of winning, even with the lower division prizes, seeing all players receive some sort of return.

However, there have been countless cases of a syndicate allegedly winning but the person who put the syndicate on takes the money for themselves. Therefore, we take a look at whether or not it is really worth playing in a syndicate.

Is participating in a syndicate worth it?

One of the most recent cases, and most covered by the media, of a syndicate member allegedly keeping the Division 1 prize pool for themselves was in 2014.

A group of 14 placed a syndicate of 10 tickets, worth $520 on a Powerball draw in October, 2014, and the man who purchased the ticket for the group, Gary Baron, ended up claiming the winning ticket of the Division 1 $50 million prize, which was $16.6 million and kept it for himself.

Mr Baron claimed he purchased tickets worth $46.60 and one of these was what won the prize, not the syndicate tickets. Naturally, a long and media-covered legal battle pursed, with the other parties apparently receiving a substantial payout.

Then there is the sticky situation of those who are a part of the syndicate, but forgot to pay for their share in the syndicate that week and one of the ticket wins. An exact example of this happening was in the UK when a 16 person syndicate won £1 million in 2013. Three people however forgot to pay for their tickets and therefore removing them from the prize pool would mean more money for the others.

Basically, the biggest drawback is that the leader of the syndicate can say they purchased a separate ticket from the syndicate tickets and that was the winning ticket, not the syndicate tickets, meaning you won’t receive your share. Another drawback is that you can lose friendships and ruin family relationships due to arguments caused by who paid, who didn’t pay, and so on.

While there are most likely many occurrences of these types of incidents, despite not being covered by the media, there are also success stories including 10 strangers winning a share of $30 million in Oz Lotto in 2015, each successfully sharing the prize pool.

If you are worried about the aforementioned scenarios of syndicate members not paying up, there is a solution.

Draw up a syndicate contract

The best possible solution for stopping other syndicate members from taking the money all for themselves is to get an official piece of paper signed by all parties. You could even include that no member can purchase an individual lottery ticket separate from the syndicate if you are worried a scenario similar to Mr Barron’s syndicate may occur.

Members can draw this up themselves, and make copies so if it is ever taken so far as to the courts, you will have proof and thus be paid your winnings accordingly.

Our thoughts of lottery syndicates

Increasing your chances of winning is always ideal, but it is important to remember if you do win you have to split the prize pool between the number of people that you have entered the syndicate with. These two factors need to be evaluated and you need to individually determine if you think increasing your chances of winning outweighs the factor of splitting.

We also advise to always create a contract between the parties, especially if you do not know your syndicate members very well. If you are entering a syndicate with your family, it may still be worthwhile to draw a contract up as money can bring out the worst in people, unfortunately.

Lottery syndicates can be a fun alternative to buying individual tickets and they can increase your chances of winning. We recommend picking who you are going to go in a syndicate with carefully and always be fair and honest if you are the leader of the syndicate.