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Lottery Attorney Warns: Know Who You're Jumping Into The Pool With

NOEL KING, HOST:

The Mega Millions lottery is up to $1.6 billion.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Billion?

KING: Billion with a B.

INSKEEP: OK.

KING: The drawing is set for tonight. And yes, this is very exciting, but your chances - our chances - about 1 in 300 million.

INSKEEP: Oh.

KING: Now, some people come up with plans to improve their odds and a big one is getting a bunch of co-workers together and forming an office pool. What about that?

JASON KURLAND: One in 300 million is the same as 20 in 300 million. They're both astronomical, so the odds are basically the same.

INSKEEP: (Laughter) Jason Kurland is a lawyer who represents jackpot winners, and he says if your office pool does somehow win, that is not necessarily good.

KURLAND: There could be a lot of problems with office pools.

INSKEEP: Yeah. Sometimes not everybody knows who's in the group or out, which could lead to some awkward conversations if you were to win and that's not all.

KURLAND: I've been involved where people used to play in a group a long time ago and then somebody wanted a single. And then the group went after them, said, no, we were always playing together.

KING: Very awkward but Kurland is not entirely against office pools.

KURLAND: Well, you know, I understand why people do it because, A, you know, you'll feel terrible if your office wins and you didn't contribute just because you didn't like them, so I would never say not to. And I understand that there's always peer pressure because you don't want to be the one person left out, so I'm not going to say not to.

KING: But he will say this, though.

KURLAND: The last thing you need are 20 people with 20 lawyers all going to court and fighting over this and tying the money up for years or God knows how much.

INSKEEP: If you do win and you need a lawyer, he will probably take your call unless he's the one who wins.

(SOUNDBITE OF HERZELOYDE'S "STORIES") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.