Winning £1 million on the lottery sounds like a dream come true, but for yet another syndicate it has descended into a nightmarish row over how to divide the spoils. The syndicate in question was a group of co-workers from the DVLA in Morriston, Swansea.
The row has erupted after it emerged that three members had failed to pay their subscriptions that week.
The rowThe Daily Mail reported that the 16-person syndicate won £1 million in last Friday's EuroMillions draw. Divided equally between them, that would work out at £62,500. However, the newspaper claims that the group has fallen out over three members who had not paid their subscriptions that week. If they were excluded it would mean an extra £14,423 for the other members.
A syndicate member told The Sun: "The win has gone a bit sour though as there are three people who the others say haven't paid for their tickets. It's all a bit awkward and there's a bad atmosphere - it's terrible how people can turn so nasty when a bit of money is involved."
The National Lottery has not commented, as the group has not decided to go public about the win. However, Camelot is said to be mediating, and a vote is expected.
RisksThis isn't the first syndicate to have fallen apart after a win. We reported in February on the syndicate at a hair salon in Indiana which had fallen out over a win of $9.5 million. The stylist who bought the ticket claimed that it was a separate ticket, bought at the same time for her alone, which had won, but the syndicate claimed this was against their rules - and that they had an agreement that in an event like this the ticket should be counted as belonging to them all.
Then there was the battle last year between a group of New Jersey construction workers, over a $24 million winning ticket that one member said he'd bought for himself. A judge eventually decided he had to share the payout.
There have been battles closer to home too - including the syndicate in Ireland which ended up in the High Court a few years ago, being forced to pay a fifth share of the win to a member who had failed to pay that week.
Protect yourselfSyndicates are fraught with danger. After-all, technically the person who buys the ticket is the legal owner of it. Without an agreement, they could walk away with the lot. It makes it quite concerning that a shocking 79% of all syndicates have no written agreement to protect the members.
The National Lottery says that in order for a syndicate to work properly, it needs rules to be drawn up carefully, and for every member to sign up to them - alongside an independent witness. They need to include details of the members, what they contribute each week, and the share of any win.
They also need to agree the games they will play and the numbers they will use, arrangements that will be made if someone doesn't contribute one week, and what happens if someone wants to leave.
They should highlight what should happen if the person buying the ticket also buys one for themselves at the same time, and any separate arrangements.
Members then need to stick rigidly to the rules - with no exceptions. The minute they deviate from the agreement it won't be worth the paper it is written on.
However, there are always happy exceptions to the rule. The Newton family from Dartford in Kent scooped just under £8 million in 2009, and despite the fact that all three of their adult children had regularly dodged paying their share, parents Ted and Marilyn Newton agreed to share it equally (on the condition each child paid their dad £1,000 to make up for their missed subscriptions).