In workplaces across the nation, Americans are inviting their colleagues to chip in $2 for a Powerball ticket and a shared daydream.
The office lottery pool is a way to improve your odds and have a little fun with co-workers. And besides, who wants to be the only person at work the next day when everyone quits?
With $600 million on the line, this is the time to play. It's the largest-ever Powerball jackpot and the second-largest world jackpot of all time. And it could get even bigger before today's drawing.
The Multi-State Lottery Association recognizes the popularity of work pools, especially when the stakes are so high. In the past few years, lottery officials have offered tips for organizing pools.
"The appeal is they can stretch the value of their $2," said Norm Lingle, executive director of the South Dakota Lottery and chairman of the Powerball Executive Committee.
But it's important to be careful. Workplace pools that yield big jackpots sometimes result in lawsuits, broken friendships and delayed payouts.
Know the rules
Put them in writing: Lottery officials encourage pools organizers to lay down rules, put them in writing and distribute the details to all participants before the winning numbers are drawn.
Make and distribute photocopies: Mike Harris keeps the pool in order by distributing a photocopy of the ticket to each contributor and scrawling their names on the handout. To him, it's just common sense. "There's no confusion," he said. "This is the ticket we have."
Don't mix pool, private: If you're the person buying the tickets, make sure co-workers are aware if you plan to buy personal tickets on the side.
Plan for the nearly impossible: It's smart to plan. But it also can feel silly to plan for something that is nearly impossible to win. The chances of winning the latest jackpot are about 1 in 175.2 million.