Mission Possible: Winning the Lottery


One of the summer’s biggest blockbusters is Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. The premise of the movie is simple: IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) goes on a wild chase of global proportions in the hopes of proving that The Syndicate actually exists. The Syndicate is an international crime organisation that is wreaking havoc upon the entire world — or so the IMF suspects. While the movie is fun and exciting, let’s hope it doesn’t give all syndicates a bad reputation. There is one type of syndicate that is a joy to join: the lottery syndicate.

The definition of a syndicate is a group of people, corporations or other entities who come together to pursue a shared interest. While this may sound like it would be practised more in the offices of Wall Street or organised crime outfits, lottery syndicates have been forming for centuries. Lottery syndicates are a group of lottery players who buy their tickets together and share any winnings. There are several benefits to joining a lottery syndicate, but the two most important are cost-benefit ratio and fun!

Members of a lottery syndicate have access to many more lottery tickets than they would normally have if they had purchased them on their own. Because of this, syndicates offer hundreds and even thousands of chances to win the lottery. The total cost of the tickets are split amongst the group, so the cost to each individual member is greatly reduced at the same times the odds of winning are increased.

When a prize is won, it’s divided evenly amongst the syndicate shares. If a player wants a bigger portion of a syndicate’s potential winnings, all they have to do is buy more syndicate shares – therefore having more ownership of future prizes. All prizes are split, from the smallest secondary prize division up to the jackpots.

Lottery syndicates have a long and successful history. In fact, Voltaire – one of the most important figures of the Enlightenment – made his fortune by forming a lottery syndicate with Charles Marie de la Condamine, a genius mathematician. De la Condamine figured out a way to almost guarantee a jackpot win in the French lottery and convinced Voltaire of his plan. The two, along with a group of wealthy patrons, bought up a large percentage of the available lottery tickets and won jackpot after jackpot. With his new fortune, Voltaire was able to spend his time writing and philosophising to his heart’s content.

The most successful syndicate of all-time were the Three Amigos. Three coworkers from Maryland’s public school system pooled their resources and bought a total of 60 tickets for the world record $656 million Mega Millions jackpot in March 2012. For an investment of $20 per person, they ended up with a return of $35 million each! Three tickets across the nation matched the winning numbers, including one of the Three Amigos’ tickets. Thus they won $218.6 million and opted for the cash option of $158 million, netting $35 million each after taxes.

While most lottery syndicates are formed by friends and coworkers, there are options for people who don’t know enough people who want to participate in the lottery. Online lottery ticket operators like theLotter offer membership to lottery syndicates. All an interested player has to do to join an online syndicate is to buy a share – a player gets all the benefits of participating in a syndicate without all the hassle of forming one.

Agent Ethan Hunt and his team have a knack for impossible missions, but with options like lottery syndicates, winning the lottery will never be one of them.

Stacy Fraser