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It's Bracket Season! ....

Posted by Daniel Norland | Mar 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

...But is it legal?

March Madness is upon us, and I have been asked this question more than once: "Is it legal to have an office pool for March Madness?". The answer, in Wisconsin (and nearly every other state) is no. Technically, office pools are considered sports gambling, and are therefore illegal. So, your office pool with your coworkers where you each tossed in five bucks? Yep, it's illegal. The pool you created with your friends for a winner take all prize? Also illegal. 

Now before you steal your money back from the locked box under the boss's desk and burn your bracket to hide the evidence, you should also know that this is something that simply is not prosecuted. Current sports betting laws are a prime example of what happens when the law does not change at the same pace as public opinion. 24 million people in this country will spend actual real money on March Madness brackets this year. It is an immensely popular tradition, and I have yet to hear of a prosecutor in this state who decided to spend resources prosecuting office pools. If you pick up the paper you will quickly find out that prosecutors in our state simply have much better things to do. 

I need to be clear though as a disclaimer: It is considered sports gambling to put money into a pool in the hopes of winning more, regardless of whether it is March Madness or not, and sports gambling is illegal. 

About the Author

Daniel Norland

I received my Bachelor's Degree from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse in December 2006. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison Law School in 2010 and chose to move back to the Coulee Region to begin my legal career. I decided to open my own law practice and have never regre...


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