How to claim a lottery prize as a group
Playing games is always more fun with friends and playing the lottery is no exception to this rule. When the jackpots start getting big—and we’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars big—we tend to get a lot of questions from players about how it works if they were to win on a ticket purchased with a group.
In Minnesota we try to make the process easy and fun so grab your co-workers, friends, or family and pool your money together for some tickets because here’s everything you need to know about claiming a prize with multiple people.
Step 1: Make a plan
Before you buy your tickets, make sure everyone is on the same page about how you would divvy up any winnings. A prize share agreement (either verbal or written) must be in place prior to purchasing any tickets. Prize shares don’t have to be equal (people can claim different amounts) but they must add up to 100 percent and each person must claim at least 1 percent of the prize, which means you can’t have more than 100 people in your group.
Step 2: Designate a rep
A representative of the group may sign the back of any tickets upon purchase and should keep them in a safe place (this person must be one of the claimants). After the drawing, check your tickets and if you win, share the news with the rest of the people in your group. The fun is just getting started!
Step 3: Determine when you will claim the prize
Winners have one year from the date of the drawing to claim prizes. All prizes over $50,000 must be claimed in person at lottery headquarters in Roseville.
For Powerball, Mega Millions and Lotto America jackpots, it can take up to two weeks to get paid. You will also have to determine if you want to select the cash option or the annuity option. Winners have 60 days from when they present the ticket for payment to decide. Each member of the group can decide if they would like to take their prize as a lump sum or an annuity, which is paid in 30 payments over 29 years.
Step 4: Claim your winnings
Grab the ticket and visit us at lottery headquarters in Roseville. This is where the validation process takes place. Each group member must complete a claim form. This can be done ahead of time or when the group arrives in person. Each person will also have to provide a government issued photo ID, like a driver’s license. Once all the necessary paperwork is complete and the ticket has been handed over, our lottery crew gets busy processing the claim.
The number of claimants determines how long the process will take but we promise you it will be worth the wait! For comparison, from the time this group of 22 walked in the doors, it took approximately 4 hours until they got their checks.
Step 5: Get camera-ready!
Note: this is optional. Winners are not obligated to do any photos or interviews. However, you’ll have some time to pass while waiting for your checks, so you might as well have some fun with it, right?
We’ll have an over-sized check waiting for you with your group name on it. We’ll also take this time to hand out some cool lottery memorabilia, which make for fun keepsakes!
In Minnesota, lottery winners cannot remain anonymous. A winner’s name, city, prize amount won and the place that the winning ticket was sold is all public data and will be released to media and posted on our website.
Step 6: Share your story
This can be one of the most memorable parts of winning the lottery. Recalling how you found out, your first reaction and all those fun details are what make a moment like this priceless.
Again, this is optional, and we only share stories that our winners are willing to provide.
Step 7: Get paid!
Lottery Executive Director Robert Doty has the privilege of handing winner’s their checks. Winners’ receive a check minus the required tax withholdings (currently at 7.25 percent for Minnesota State income tax and 24 percent for federal). Each winner also receives copies of their own W2-G tax forms and will walk away with a copy of their winning ticket.
Step 8: RELAX
Enjoy and don’t be afraid to take your time deciding on what to do with your windfall.