Avoid Prize Split Disputes - Use The Bingo Player's Prize Share Agreement
In recent weeks, there have been a number of cases around disputes over prize shares on big money bingo wins. The second Mecca Millionaire prize is currently in dispute and has been frozen by a judge until it's resolved - and last week the Court of Appeal in London upheld a case about a share dispute over a £100,000 National Game prize, meaning the person who'd won the prize didn't have to share it with the players who were disputing the win.
If the £1,000,000 Mecca Millionaire case goes the same way, it seems that the verbal, mutual agreement you make at your club to share prize money stands for nothing when one of these share dispute cases come to light. With all these prizes floating, I think it's a good idea to formalise that agreement with your friends so there can be no misunderstanding about who's getting what when one of your group is lucky enough to win it big.
Bingo Player's Prize Share Agreement
So, I came up with my Bingo Player's Prize Share Agreement. Basically it's based on a lottery syndicate form - and it will help to provide evidence of any verbal agreements you made should a dispute arise.
Bingo playing share groups are typically a lot smaller than lottery syndicates. Typically in a club it will be a group of friends on one or two tables, or 2 - 4 players. If you play shares with friends, don't let a misunderstanding over money ruin your friendship - formalise the verbal agreement you've made to each other using this form.
With these new big prizes, it's time for bingo players to protect both their friendships and their potential earnings. This document could potentially save you from losing up to £500,000 in a dispute with a person you share with. If you play together as a group regularly, then it's worth taking a few seconds to fill in and sign the form. It will be good evidence to produce if a dispute should arise.
Every member of your small share group should sign the form, and get a member of the club staff to witness it and sign it too. Make a copy for each player and put it safe. If you play with different friends during the week, you could use one for each group - you're also welcome to modify the agreement or add notes should you need to. You can date how long you want the agreement to stand, but you have to be at the club and playing in the group for it to be valid.
Either click the link and select save file, or right click and save file as. If you don't have Microsoft Word, then I recommend the free office suite available for download at OpenOffice.org. I use it myself and swear by it. Once you've saved a copy to your disk, you can open it with your chosen word processor and print a copy off. Feel free to take extra copies to hand out to other groups you know of at the clubs.
It may seem like this is a bit of a chore, and to be fair - you might not think it necessary. But, if you were in a lottery syndicate you would do the same, and given the level of prize money now - why shouldn't you take steps? Especially if the legal trend of verbal agreements not being binding continues to be the case in these disputes.
And if you think it won't happen to you, I remember one case in my club of three friends who played together for years. One of them thought she'd won the National as she had a really low house call. She promptly told her bingo friends they would only get a share of the house money - and not the National prize. These were friends who'd played together for the best part of a decade. In the end she only won the regional prize, but still declined to share that with her friends. They never played together again after that.
Personally, I'd rather keep a friend than have the money. It's easy for misunderstandings to creep in with large amounts of money. So, if everyone knows where they stand, it's less likely to happen.
*Disclaimer* I have to state here and now, that this is not a legally approved document. Its aim is to provide evidence of an agreement in the event of dispute and as such, should not be considered a legally approved document. We cannot guarantee any positive outcomes from the use of the document, and as you are welcome to alter it to fit your needs, we can't be held responsible should any problems arise because of the agreement.
By downloading the document, you agree that we cannot be held responsible should any problems arise regarding the use of the document. It's provided as is with no warranties of fitness for use.
Author: David Lloyd