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Have fun with March Madness pools but keep them legal

Well, it’s finally here. March Madness. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Which means it’s time to get your brackets filled out.

I’m not going to offer up any picks. Trust me, you don’t want mine. If I remember right, I finished a couple of spots behind the boss’ 10-year-old niece last year.

But I will say that I had a great time — as I do every year — in the office bracket challenge. In my mind, it’s a few bucks for a months-worth of entertainment; Money that wouldn’t last me through happy hour with the booze drinkin’ slappies I hang out with. No harm, no foul, right?

Wrong!

Turns out, the betting pools are all illegal! Well, illegal-ish, just like your fantasy football leagues, your office Super Bowl Pool, and the occasional beer bet on the Dodgers-D-backs games.

KTAR legal analyst Monica Lindstrom breaks it down like this:

“Gambling is illegal in the state of Arizona. However, social betting is acceptable.”

Here’s what you will have to do to keep everything above board”

First, this has to be, well, social. It needs to be a team building event of sorts. Everybody must be included. For example, one department can’t exclude a member of another department from participating.

Most importantly, the organizer of the bracket pool cannot make any money simply for being the organizer.

I think there is a word for this. Oh, yes: a bookie. That is a big no-no!

The bottom line is that office pools and brackets are not going to cause the feds to break down your office building’s front door. Just keep it light, fun, and inclusive.

Oh, and make sure that organizer isn’t skimming any dough for themselves.

Just have fun and good luck with your picks!

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