Thinking of setting up a lottery syndicate? Take a quick break and read the ultimate lottery syndicate guide.
A lottery syndicate, or ‘group play’ as it’s also known, can increase your chances of winning the lottery, but it’s not something you should get into without doing a little research first. After all, you need to make sure your syndicate is set up properly and watertight.
What is a lottery syndicate?
The more lottery tickets you buy, the greater your chances of winning are. A lottery syndicate is a way of pooling together with a group of other players to buy multiple lottery lines and give yourself the best chance of winning a prize. If any of your lines win, then the prizes are split between all of the players in your syndicate in accordance with the syndicate agreement.
Typically, syndicates are made up of people you know, such as your friends, family and work colleagues. Once a syndicate is formed, the members pay money to a syndicate organiser, usually weekly or monthly, who is responsible for buying the tickets and distributing the winnings.
So, a syndicate is just another name for people who pool their lottery tickets.
The main benefit of joining a lottery syndicate is to increase your chances of winning. Any prize you do win will be shared, but with such huge lottery jackpots out there, even syndicate players can still become multimillionaires.
The history of lottery syndicates
State-run lotteries began in the UK in 1690, but the tickets were so expensive that many people couldn’t afford them. So, in the 18th century, groups of people clubbed together to buy shares in tickets. Typically, friends, family members and work colleagues would buy a ticket together, but some people even put adverts in newspapers looking for other players to share with.
The first recorded lottery syndicate win was in 1798, again in the UK, with four low-paid workers scooping a jackpot of £20,000 between them (worth around £1.2million today).
Today, although many people still join a syndicate with people they know, online lottery syndicates have also become popular. They enable you to enter into a lottery syndicate with other online players in a bid to scoop a prize. In fact, in 2015, a syndicate formed on Facebook won £1.1million on the EuroMillions.
Do lottery syndicates win?
Of course! Anyone with a lottery ticket has a chance of winning the lottery, so it stands to reason that the more tickets you have, the better your chance of winning.
For example, your chance of winning the Oz Lotto is 1 in 45,379,620. However, if you’re in a syndicate that buys 20 tickets every week, then that falls to 20 in 45,379,620, which is 1 in 2,268,981.
Who can be part of a lottery syndicate?
According to research, two-thirds of lottery syndicates are made up of work colleagues and they can be a great way to inject a little fun and social interaction into the workplace. However, you can be in a syndicate with anyone in your family, your friend group, your football team, your walking club or whoever you like. Alternatively, you can join an online syndicate with people you’ve never physically met.
If you are going to set up your own syndicate, it’s important that you have good communication between all syndicate members and put a written syndicate agreement in place.
What are the benefits of online lottery syndicates?
As well as increasing your chances of winning, there are also other benefits of playing the lottery as a syndicate, particularly when you play online.
- Value – When you play via a syndicate online, you can reduce your cost per line. For example, if you join a syndicate of 10 players who buy 5 lines every week, you’ll pay half the price you would when buying a ticket yourself but be five times more likely to win.
- Variety – Joining a syndicate online allows you to enter lotteries from around the world, from the Irish Lotto to the American Powerball. It also includes the American Mega Millions, which boasts some of the biggest jackpots you’ll find.
- Simplicity – An online syndicate does the hard work for you. You don’t have to worry about finding syndicate members, buying the tickets or even checking the results. You’ll be notified of a win should it happen!
- Security – Any winnings secured by your online syndicate are paid directly into each syndicate member’s account. It’s as simple as that.
- No commitment – The beauty of playing with online lottery syndicates is that there’s no commitment at all. Unlike a syndicate where you play with friends, family or work colleagues, there’s no obligation to buy a ticket every week or play multiple draws. You can simply dip in and out whenever you like.
How to join a lottery syndicate
If you want to join a lottery syndicate, there are two options available to you. You can either create your own or join a syndicate that already exists.
Create your own syndicate
If you want to create your own syndicate, the first step is to get some players together. You can have as many people as you like in your syndicate but bear in mind that while a larger group will increase your chances of winning, any payouts will be smaller.
Once you have your syndicate members, it’s worth discussing and outlining a few syndicate rules so everyone knows what’s expected of them. Here are a few things you should consider:
- Who will be the syndicate manager? – The syndicate manager is responsible for buying the tickets for the agreed draws, making sure everyone pays on time, keeping members informed of the results and distributing the winnings.
- How much will it cost? – Think about what lotteries you’ll play, when you’ll play them and how many tickets you’ll buy. You should also decide whether members will pay on a weekly or monthly basis before you start to play.
- How will you collect and distribute the winnings? – All prizes will usually be collected by the syndicate manager, but you should also think about how the prizes will be distributed. For example, will prizes lower than a certain amount be reinvested? At what amount are prizes paid out? And will the prizes be paid out equally? It’s important to have a syndicate agreement in place (which we talk about in more detail below) that sets out how the winnings will be distributed.
Join an existing syndicate
Your other option is to join a syndicate that already exists. One of the main benefits of this approach is that all the hard work has already been done for you. You can use online services to join a syndicate and play the world’s biggest lotteries today.
Online lottery syndicates are very simple. The website acts as as the syndicate manager. You can then choose to buy a share in a ticket and win a percentage of any prizes that ticket wins. And the more shares you buy, the greater your share of the winnings.
The tickets bought for your syndicate are uploaded to your account as proof of purchase. And, if any of the tickets win, you’ll receive notification and winnings are distributed accordingly.
Why join an online Lottery syndicate?
Here are some of the other benefits of joining an online lottery syndicate:
- Increase your chances of winning without having to spend more on tickets
- Online services buy the tickets and check the results for you
- Play the lottery whenever you like without being stuck to a rigid routine
- Play lotteries from around the world
- You’ll have worries about lost or damaged tickets
- Any winnings are paid out automatically so you never have to worry about missing a prize
How to manage a lottery syndicate
There are lots of things to consider when managing a lottery syndicate. If you join an existing syndicate online, then the website will act as the syndicate manager on your behalf and take care of everything from buying the tickets and keeping them safe to distributing the winnings. However, if you decide to create your own syndicate, then there are a few things you should consider.
Choose a syndicate manager
It’s a good idea and probably essential that you appoint a syndicate manager who is responsible for running the group, purchasing the tickets and collecting the winnings. Under lottery rules, a prize on a winning ticket is only payable to one person, which should be the manager of the syndicate. They should be trustworthy (for obvious reasons) and write their name and address on the back of the tickets to keep them safe (if buying physical tickets).
Create a syndicate agreement
Although it’s not essential, it’s a very good idea to create a syndicate agreement to keep the syndicate running smoothly and give everyone peace of mind. The presence of a written syndicate agreement can also prevent your winnings from being subject to inheritance tax when they are transferred from one person to another.
These are the points you should include in your syndicate agreement:
- The date the agreement was drawn up
- The name of the syndicate’s members
- The name of the syndicate manager
- Which lottery you’ll play and how often
- How the numbers will be selected for each draw
- How and when each member will pay
- The percentage share of any prize each member will receive
- What happens if a member fails to pay their contribution for a draw
- Will the syndicate go public or remain anonymous if they have a big win
The agreement should be signed and dated by each member of the group and ideally witnessed by a solicitor. Copies of the syndicate agreement should be given to each member of the group, with the original kept in a safe place. Although it can feel like a hassle, you should also create a new agreement when members join or leave the syndicate or even if the way you make payments changes.
Lottery syndicate wins: real-life stories
There are some fantastic stories of lottery syndicates scooping some huge prizes across the world
The largest known US lottery syndicate win to date was in January 2021, when a four-person Michigan syndicate known as the ‘Wolverine FLL Club’ came forward to claim a Mega Millions jackpot of $1.05billion.
The ‘Three Amigos’, a Maryland-based syndicate, also won big on the American Mega Millions in 2013, winning $218.6million, while another syndicate, this time a 16-strong group from New Jersey called ‘Ocean 16’, bagged a further $149 million.
In Europe, the luck of the Irish shone on nine members of the same Dublin family in February 2019, when they won a colossal €175.4 EuroMillions lottery jackpot, giving them €19.4 million each.
The Davies Family became the biggest UK lottery syndicate winners after they won £61 million on a EuroMillions rollover, giving the five-strong syndicate from Monmouth in Wales just over £12 million each. It’s also a heartwarming story, as Sonia Davies had just undergone successful surgery in America to remove a tumour. She and her partner Keith were feeling lucky, so they called their daughters Courtney and Stephanie, and Stephanie’s boyfriend Steve, to ask them to pop out and buy some EuroMillions tickets for the family. And the rest is lottery syndicate history.
Lottery syndicates gone wrong
If creating a lottery syndicate agreement sounds too much like hard work, here are a few stories about what can go wrong to give you some extra motivation.
Imagine contributing to a syndicate every week only to find that the one draw you miss is the week you win big. Sadly, there are instances of this happening that have not ended well.
Louisa Whitby, a member of a syndicate at a small recruitment company in Liverpool, was absent from work with morning sickness on the day her syndicate’s payments were collected. The syndicate won a £28.8 million EuroMillions payout and as her colleagues refused to cut her in, Miss Whitby lost her £2.5 million share.
Perhaps worse still is the tale of 72-year-old grandmother Jeanette French, whose Florida country club syndicate landed a $16 million jackpot. She had missed work on the day the $1 contributions were paid. Despite being a part of the syndicate for eight years and being the person who checked the syndicate’s tickets and even informed the members of their windfall, she was not given her $1.1million share of the jackpot win.
As well as syndicate members who have unfortunately missed payments, there are also a few people who have tried to hide a win from their syndicates entirely.
Gary Baron, an Australian who became known as the ‘Powerball Rat’, tried to hide his syndicate’s $16.6 million Australian Powerball win from his fellow syndicate members. He promptly quit his job at a courier company and set about spending his swindled winnings.
However, the Australian lottery company sent him a celebratory bottle of Champagne using the same courier company he used to work for and where the syndicate was based. He claimed to have won the jackpot on a separate ticket, but smelling a rat, the rest of the group took legal action that he settled.
In a similar tale of dishonesty and greed, US lottery syndicate member Americo Lopes collected a $24 million Mega Millions jackpot on behalf of his highway maintenance worker colleagues. He promptly quit his job telling the group that he needed foot surgery and failed to mention the windfall.
Months later, he told one of his fellow syndicate members that he had won the lottery a week after resigning and suspicions were aroused, particularly when it was revealed he had never had the foot surgery. Inevitably, the case went to court and Mr Lopes was ordered to pay his colleagues $4 million each.
Which lotteries will you play?
One of the main benefits of joining a syndicate online is that you can play your favourite international lotteries from around the world. That includes the American Mega Millions, American PowerBall, EuroMillions, UK National Lottery, Irish Lotto, French Lottery and more.
You can play the lottery that you find the most exciting or go in search of the biggest jackpots for that particular week. The odds of winning each lottery differ and in many cases, so do the days when each is drawn, so you can find the perfect fit for your syndicate.
What are the best ways to pick your lottery numbers?
Now that your lottery syndicate is set up and you know which lottery you want to play, you can move onto the serious business of choosing your numbers and landing some prizes.
There are a few different methods you can use to choose your lottery syndicate’s numbers. Whatever approach you take, it’s worth remembering that any set of numbers is mathematically just as likely to win as any other combination, so it really is just luck.
That said, many individuals and syndicates still have their preferred methods of choosing their numbers. You can:
- Study the statistics and choose the numbers that are drawn most frequently
- Choose numbers that hold significance to you as a group
- Ask everyone in the group for their lucky numbers
- Choose a completely random set of numbers either yourself or by letting a random picker do it for you
There are a few things to think about with these approaches. For example, if you pick the numbers that are drawn most frequently, then other players are likely to have done the same thing, so you may have to share your jackpot with more people. Similarly, if you choose a series of numbers, such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, then you’re also likely to share your winnings with more people, as that’s quite a popular way to play.
With that in mind, going for a completely random set of numbers or numbers that have sentimental value to you and your fellow syndicate members could be the best way to go. That way, if you do win, you’re more likely to keep more of the prize.
The other way to pick your syndicate’s numbers is by using a Lottery Wheeling System. This allows you to choose a large group of lottery numbers and play scientific combinations of those numbers to get a specific win guarantee if some or all of the winning lottery numbers are in that group.
This kind of system allows playing with a set of numbers of size larger than the size of the set of numbers drawn in the lottery. For instance, a single ticket in a ‘pick 6’ lottery guarantees a 4-win if four of the syndicate’s numbers are drawn.