Every year millions of pounds in lottery winnings go unclaimed. Much of this is due to players who fail to check their numbers and claim their prizes within the allotted time frame. It's easily done, particularly if you buy a ticket while abroad or happen to be out of the country when the results are announced.
However, this doesn't need to be the case. Inspired by updates in mobile technology, a number of software specialists have created handy 'buy and scan' apps. These programmes are capable of scanning lottery tickets, storing the numbers and then notifying you when you're entitled to a win – saving you the effort of checking and ensuring you still have plenty of time to claim.
A lottery syndicate is a group of people – it could be friends, family members, work colleagues or online players – collectively buying a certain number of tickets, with the agreement that any prizes won will be split between all members of the group. The chances of winning are therefore higher, but the prizes you can win personally are typically lower.
It's a fact that the more tickets you buy in a lottery, the greater your chances of winning, but buying 50 or 100 tickets for yourself every week is costly, which is why syndicates exist. According to the UK's National Lottery, 1 in 5 top game prizes (which includes Lotto and EuroMillions jackpots, plus the EuroMillions Millionaire Maker draw) are won by syndicates, demonstrating why the syndicate model is such a good idea.
How it Works
When setting up an offline syndicate, it's advisable to appoint someone as a 'manager'. This is the person who will be responsible for collecting players' money, purchasing the tickets and storing them, checking the results, collecting winnings and distributing them among the members – so pick someone who is organised and trustworthy. It's also a good idea for the manager to draw up a syndicate agreement to help things run more smoothly and reduce the risk of disputes.
The agreement should include information such as the names of all the players, how many tickets will be purchased for each game, which draw the tickets will be purchased for (for example, you may only want to enter the Saturday Lotto draw), the stake that each player has in the syndicate and a declaration from the manager regarding their obligation to distribute any winnings. The agreement should be read and signed by all participants. This is important from a legal point of view, too, as without an agreement members could be subject to Inheritance Tax on their share of the prize pot if the manager dies within seven years.
As for how you play the game, it's not really much different to how you play it individually. Some online syndicate providers will allow you to pick your own numbers or choose from a selection of different combinations, while others will automatically pick your numbers for you.
Similarly, if you're in a syndicate with your family or work colleagues and do it the old-fashioned way, you can either let the manager select the numbers for the group or pick your own. Some syndicate players enter the same numbers into every draw. Winnings are distributed according to how many tickets (shares) each member has – the larger your stake, the larger you share of the prize will be.
Types of Syndicates
You can either join a syndicate with a group of people you know, such as your family or work colleagues, or join an online version where you are randomly entered into a syndicate with other online players. While the traditional type of syndicate is still popular in many workplaces and households, the online variety is becoming increasingly popular as much of the work is taken out of the process. There is no chasing money, no going to the shop to purchase reams of tickets, and no forgetting to enter or to collect your winnings.
Online syndicates are available for most of the major national and international lottery games, including Italy's SuperEnalotto and Europe's EuroMillions. You can either enter online syndicates on a one-off basis or with a monthly subscription. There are normally different packages available, whereby the more you pay, the more entries you get – and therefore the higher chance you have of winning some money.
If you're joining an offline syndicate with family, friends or work colleagues, contact the syndicate manager to find out if they have any space for you to join. Someone may have to leave before you can join. If you want to do it online, all you have to do is choose a syndicate service and then decide which game you want to play and how many shares you want to purchase. There are numerous online syndicate services to choose from, each offering various lottery games. They are fairly straightforward to enter, but you should do your research first to find out which one is best for you.
Some of the leading businesses currently offering online lottery syndicate services include Giantlottos and TheLotter, both of which allow you to choose your game and then simply purchase a proportion of shares in their pre-set syndicates. Alternatively, websites like LottoLand allow syndicate managers to register for an account and then manage ticket purchases online, with the added bonus of having access to multiple lotteries on one site, including major lottos from various countries around the world.