March Madness – You Can Bet on It, Can’t You?

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Whether your college basketball team is the North Carolina Tarheels or the Kansas State Wildcats, as a dedicated fan your eyes are glued to the TV this month. In order to increase the fun, bets on a certain team are made along among friends, in office pools and even in the Oval Office! Engaging in friendly competition in the hopes of a year of bragging rights is harmless, to a certain extent. The NCAA, which governs intercollegiate sports competition, has this to say about wagering on “the madness”:

“The NCAA opposes all forms of legal and illegal sports wagering on college sports”  It goes on to say: “Does the NCAA really oppose the harmless small-dollar bracket office pool for the Men’s Final Four?…Yes!  Office pools of this nature are illegal in most states. The NCAA is aware of pools involving $100,000 or more in revenue… Fans should enjoy following the tournament and filling out a bracket just for the fun of it, not on the amount of money they could possibly win.”

In the Commonwealth of Virginia you must be 21 years or older to gamble. However, gambling over games such as bingo and playing the lottery is allowed at the age of 18.

Also, the Federal Wire Act outlaws the transfer of information for sports betting. So, if I know a player is purposely not going to play his best at a certain game (sometimes called “point shaving”) and I share this information with someone who plans on betting against the game, I would be breaking the law (and the college athlete could also wind up in a lot of trouble).

There are lawfully run casinos that have sports gaming and allow wagers on all sorts of events.  In some pubs in the United Kingdom, you can bet on nearly anything, including the name of the next baby to come into the English Royal Family.  Abrams Landau Firm founder Norman Landau even wagered on a “double or nothing” on Lady Diana’s two sons’ names. He did not win.  Mr. Landau should have stuck to college basketball, something folks on this side of “the pond” know a bit more about.

Good luck to you and your favorite team!

 

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