Is Your Office Lottery Pool Illegal?

Jun 02, 14 Is Your Office Lottery Pool Illegal?

June 3, 2014 – At the end of May, Tennessee Attorney General Robert E. Cooper, Jr. released an opinion which said lottery ticket pools did not fit among the “exceptions to ‘gambling'” as outlined in the Tennessee Constitution.

Those “exceptions” are what allow the Tennessee Lottery to operate while at the same time prohibiting citizens from running their own lotteries, like – according to the opinion – ticket pools.

So does that mean you’re breaking the law when you join in the office lottery pool and toss two bucks on a co-worker’s desk?

You can breathe a sigh of relief – pooling money is perfectly fine.  Pooling tickets is against the law.

So what’s the difference?

The opinion was issued in response to a question about whether someone could purchase a number of lottery tickets and then let people pay their way into the pool, paying a piece of the cost of tickets in return for a share of any winnings.

Casual office pools work in the opposite direction: friends and co-workers each put in a few dollars and the pooled money is used to purchase the group’s tickets.  Fun, perfectly legal, and potentially disastrous for businesses where a jackpot win could mean mass retirement.

According to Cooper, pooling tickets and then selling shares of potential winnings creates a second “game of chance,” one that doesn’t fall within the legal exceptions that allow the Tennessee Lottery – and your friendly office pool – to sell tickets.

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Image: Brian Turner.  Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

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Written by Matt Isaacs

Matt is the Editorial Manager for the LotteryHUB News Team. Matt graduated from Rutgers University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies in May 2013

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