During the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, we all go a little bit “mad,” wrapped up in the fever pitch of the initial rounds, hoping we picked the right upsets. But are we breaking the law?
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a federal law passed in 1992, allows sports betting in just four states—Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana. In addition, the Interstate Wire Act of 1961 prohibits communicating wagers or “information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest,” across state lines over wires. The statute has been interpreted to include the Internet, where most NCAA pools are run. State laws prohibiting gambling of any type also apply here, particularly in connection with local office pools.
Therefore, under the strict letter of the law, we could all be criminals (all 60 million of us that participate in NCAA office pools.) In fact, the FBI estimates that $2.5 billion is bet illegally during March Madness...
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