Ready to win big? Here are some OLG tips on sharing lottery tickets

Tony Bitonti is the senior manager of media relations for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. He has some practical advice for how to play it safe when playing the lottery with a group.

Don't get caught between a big-ticket win and undetermined ownership

'If it's an instant ticket, scratch it right away, see if you've won. If it's a draw game, please check our winning numbers shortly after the draw,' says Don Pister of the Ontario Lottery Corporation. If a winning ticket worth $10,000 or more is set to expire, the OLG sends a news release to media outlets in the community where it was purchased to prompt people to go back and look at their tickets. (Richard Plume/Canadian Press)

A few weeks ago, a Chatham-area man hit the jackpot with a $6.1-million lottery ticket.

But according to court documents, his live-in girlfriend claims they'd agreed to share any lottery winnings. She alleges her boyfriend moved out of their place, quit his job, and neglected to tell her about the six million dollar win.

It's a messy situation, but one that some Ontarians could find themselves in if they're not careful. 

Tony Bitonti is the senior manager of media relations for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. He offered some practical advice for how to play it safe when playing the lotto with a group.

Have a group captain

Bitonti said it's a good idea to elect someone as a captain of your group to take care of organizational duties.

That includes keeping the ticket and a photocopy of lottery receipts, and making sure those are available to the group. 

"You're purchasing something, so basically you should get a receipt if you played in that group," said Bitonti.

He said that the OLG knows a lot about each ticket, like when it was sold and where, but does not know who the purchaser is. It's up the the group or individual to make that clear.

"It is anonymous play," he said. "So we need to ask you a number of questions about that ticket."

Never assume

Bitonti said that if you're handing over money to a group captain, you need to follow through to make sure that tickets were purchased on your behalf. 

"If you are going on vacation, pay in advance," he said. "Mark it down, send an email, make sure you have the documentation to say you have paid into the group."

He said it needs to be very clear who is in the group, especially when someone else is purchasing a ticket on your behalf.

"We can't go into every office or every home and oversee group play."

Get some good advice

Bitonti said that many lottery winners will secure a financial adviser or a lawyer before coming in to claim prize money. 

He said the OLG will advise people to make sure they have trusted experts helping them with their winnings. 

"Make sure you get a trusted lawyer, a trusted financial advisor," he said. "We can't give financial advice."