IT’S the chance to get rich with minimal input.
Throw a few dollars into an office lottery syndicate and sit back and hope your number is drawn.
But what happens when your colleague runs off with the winnings?
It’s the question Wagga newsagencies have fielded in recent weeks following a Victorian man who sensationally “duped” his colleagues out of a $16.6 million win.
Stephen Cox, who runs the Lake Village Newsagency, said the story had been a topic of conversation among Wagga Lotto buyers.
“Most people are joking about it, but what happened in Geelong could happen anywhere in Australia,” he said.
According to Mr Cox, the majority of Wagga punters favour newsagents’ registered syndicates.
Under that method, every buyer has a legitimate stake in a potential win, with each individual issued a separate ticket.
While registered syndicates appear to dominate, the Advertiser understands there are a number of Wagga businesses operating workplace syndicates with one registered ticket-holder.
Mr Cox said the “major difference” between registered and non-registered syndicates was the risk stakeholders were exposed to.
“They can photocopy the ticket and hand it out, but they certainly can’t claim it if it wins,” he said.
“The lottery doesn’t decide how it splits it up – it only gives it to the person who bought the ticket.”
A Wagga man who was a ticket holder in a workplace syndicate told of the ethical dilemma that arises after a major win.
The man, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, won a first division prize of $60,000.
“The first thing that comes into your mind is ‘I could keep this all to myself’,” he said.
“Then your conscience kicks in and you realise it’s a stupid and dishonest thing to do. The money would be long gone, but the guilt would still be there.”
Slater and Gordon senior associate Tim Finney said there were legal avenues to reclaim wins.
While syndicates could be protected by contracts and formation of a trust, Mr Finney said the onus of proof was on stakeholders. He also said court was a taxing experience.
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