NCAA Tournament Pool

A few years back, a few employees here started an NCAA pool.  From what I understand, even in its origins, some family members and friends of employees also participated in the pool.  Now it has really caught on fast and last year we had individuals from every level of the company involved in the pool.

The person who is running it isn't a member of management, but last year he sent out a company wide e-mail and post a notice inviting participation.  This same person collects the money ($5 per bracket) and there haven't been any complaints as to how it's handled. But it's getting pretty big. The buzz has already begun this year and I anticiapte it's going to be at least as big if not bigger than last years.

Being in HR, there's a part of me that wonders if we should be allowing this to be "run" from inside our building.  I don't think anyone's under the impression that it's officially run by the company, but I'm wondering if there are any legal issues I'm not considering.   

How are others dealing with the issue of employee-run pools?


  • 10 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • How big is "big". I think that when it gets to more than 75 or 100 participants that you have to start worrying about condoning this behavior. 
  • I know in our state Illinois, you must have a license to gamble, so we have prohibited any pools of this nature.   We also had to give up raffles.  Seems like to stay legal we always have to be the bad guy.  We have to back up of our Corporate Compliance Policy which states that gambling of any sort is against company policy. 

     We aren't always liked.  We just do what is best for the company.

  • I wonder if it matters whether any company property (computers, servers, papers, copiers,etc.) is being used for the pool, or whether there is any official company sanction of the pool....
  • Thanks GetToWork....I was thinking what if I told the employee who runs it that he must use his own personal e-mail address, and run the pool on his own time and from his home.

     This way, even if his "mailing list" (and therefore the participants in the pool) consists largely of our employees, it's not being conducted using company property or on company time.

  • I think that's a good idea. If your company has an email or Internet use policy, certainly using company resources for a pool would violate it. At least this way you're not banning the pool entirely, just making sure that the company is left out of it.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    Also, dfox brought up a great really should check out your state law to be sure that there isn't a statute prohibiting this type of thing.


  • There is a modest-sized pool at our workplace, and so this has got me wondering (especailly since the tournament starts in 3 days!).  If you're not in a state that has a law against this type of gambling, and the employer isn't involved in the pool  (but passively allows an employee to run a pool on premises), where would the potential liability come from? 

     A disgruntled participant? (If someone thought they were cheated, would they have grounds for suing the employer?)  What I'm asking is--if it's not prohibited by state law, what other possible dangers are there?

  • We have one also.  And ours is pretty big.  But no one wins any money.  The $5 each participant pays is donated to a charity.  Everyone still gets the excitement of the pool, the money goes to a good cause, and everyone is happy. :)
  • Thanks--that sounds like a reasonable way to address it without taking away the "fun" of the event for participants.  If anyone really only interested in winning a "jackpot" of moneyk, they can join a pool outside of work.  This year, I'll just have to bear with it, but I will bring the idea to management for next year's tournament ASAP.
  • DHall--that's a great idea!!  I'd like to copy next year or for World Series, but I have a few questions.

    Does the winner pick the charity?  Is only the winner's name on the donation, or the company's?  Does your company match the contribution?

  • We pick a charity every year and announce it at the start.  Though I wouldn't be opposed to letting the winner choose.  That sounds like an even better option, let's the winner really have a "prize" in that they get to choose.

     Our donations in the past have included a letter that says the donation is from "winner of the pool" and our company.  We haven't matched for this, but we do match whenever we have a drive for a specific cause . . . like Hurricane Katrina, etc. 

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