Justin Peters wrote for Slate last week that your March Madness office pool is probably illegal, but you shouldn’t worry about getting arrested.
Are these pools actually illegal? Technically, yes: office basketball pools count as illegal bookmaking operations in most states. You’re in the clear if your office is located in Nevada, where sports wagering is legal; in Montana, where sports pools are legal as long as the house doesn’t take a cut; and in Vermont and Connecticut, where small-time pools among friends and colleagues are allowed. Pennsylvania is also considering laws that would legalize small-scale sports gambling pools.
State Sen. Lisa M. Boscola, a Democrat who represents parts of Northampton, Lehigh and Monroe counties, has introduced legislation to legalize these types of pools, if:
–the entry amount is $20 or less;
–there are no more than 100 participants;
–there is an established social, professional or familial relationship between contestants;
– all pool proceeds are awarded to the contestants or donated to a bona fide charitable organization.
“With most Pennsylvanians mistakenly believing these pools are legal or ignoring the law for being outdated, the time has come (t0) quit viewing thousands and thousands of our citizens as lawbreakers,” Boscola said in a news release last week.
In the release, she also said Villanova could be this year’s sleeper.
She was wrong.