Office pools during NCAA Tournament can carry legal risk

Posted by Samuel King - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The NCAA Basketball Tournament continues this weekend, and it's not just the action on the court that has people excited.  Many people have filled out their brackets for office pools, hoping for cash.  But those pools could be illegal.

Baumhauer's Restaurant on Eastern Boulevard was full of people with their eyes on basketball action.

"It's madness.  It's all the crazy finishes and the upsets.  It's just exciting to see," one fan said.

"You got 8 or 9 hours of basketball just back to back to back, it's just fun entertainment," said another.

But winning cash off the tournament, according to one attorney, is illegal in Alabama.  It's just not always enforced.

"I think it speaks to the increased popularity of college basketball," said Donald Jackson, head of The Sports Group.  "I think it comes down to whether law enforcement wants to chase down secretaries that bet on basketball games one time a year, or if they want to focus on high priority issues."

But even if law enforcement doesn't come after you, your boss might.  Many companies have policies that prohibit office pools, especially during the NCAA Tournament.

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