Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Betting Or Bonding?

Today I ran across a Legal Zoom article that posed the question: Is Your March Madness Office Pool Legal? Wow, what a bummer! I honestly never thought about that. It's also true that I haven't had occasion to because I've never participated in a March Madness Pool for fun, let alone for money.

It doesn't surprise me that people do it though. According to the article, "2008 March Madness office pools were worth more than $2.5 billion with 27% of American employees participating." Pools are also cited as a way to foster a sense of community around the water cooler. Truth be told, the majority of office pools are illegal gambling activity because betting on sports is only legal in Nevada.

What I find most interesting is that Legal Zoom goes on to advise gamblers on how to avoid detection: keep your pool small, bracket on paper rather than online, encourage game watching after-hours rather than on the internet at work, etc. WHAT?! A website devoted to helping people accomplish things legally is advising them on how to behave illegally? Something about that just did not sit right with me.

I realize that this situation is unfortunate for those who enjoy the camaraderie of March Madness Pools. However, shouldn't lawyers respond by lobbying for an exception to the law rather than by advising clients to break the law?

No comments: