A group of Australian workmates sued their colleague after he failed to share a £8.5 million lottery prize. theLotter – the UK’s most trusted site for online lottery syndicates – has more on the story that has shocked the land Down Under…
The morning after a particularly huge Australian Powerball draw, Gary Baron failed to show up for work. The same happened the day after that. Pretty quickly it became clear to his employer that Baron would stay away for good.
Baron’s coworkers heard that their 49-year-old workmate had bought a 4-bedroom home for £320,000 and soon he was also spotted driving a new BMW. So the 16 of them, all working at the Toll Group in Geelong, Victoria, went to court to claim that Baron’s winning lottery ticket of £8.5 million was bought on behalf of the entire group.
This wasn’t the first time a member of a lottery syndicate tried to run off with a prize – something which has never happened with online syndicates in the UK. Whilst syndicates win 1 in every 3 lottery jackpots in the UK according to the National Lottery, the legal status of a syndicate often becomes a matter of debate when when a big prize is won. This happens especially when the syndicate’s tickets are bought by a single representative of a group – the very same person who then holds on to the ticket.
It is for this very reason that online syndicates are becoming increasingly popular as they do provide legal protection. Online lottery ticket messenger services purchase official paper tickets from licenses resellers and keep the paper tickets in a safe. Players get proof of purchase (a scan of the ticket and a confirmation email). No syndicate member own the entire ticket, every participant is a mere shareholder. When a syndicate wins, shareholders are paid out individually and there are no disputes to be had.
As for the case of the Australian Powerball syndicate… Whilst Mr. Baron kept insisting the prize was his entirely, he finally offered to settle with his former colleagues in secret in 2015. No one knows how much Mr. Baron was prepared to pay his “mates”, but rumours were that his offer was substantial. Be that as it may, in January 2016, Australian newspaper The Age reported that the workmates had rejected the offer and the disgruntled 16 threatened to return to court.
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