Is your March Madness pool legal?

By Lauren Sweeney, Special Projects Producer, lsweeney@clickorlando.com
Published On: Mar 29 2014 12:45:00 AM EDT
Updated On: Mar 29 2014 01:14:11 AM EDT

One out of every 10 Americans will bet on the NCAA March Madness tournament, estimating to rack up around $12 billion in bets. All of those bets are technically illegal.

ORLANDO, Fla. -

One out of every 10 Americans will bet on the NCAA March Madness tournament, estimating to rack up around $12 billion in bets. 

All of those bets are technically illegal.

Defense attorney and Local 6 legal analyst Luis Calderon said it is very unlikely that the state or federal government would try to crack down on a typical March Madness office pool with a very small pay-in.

However, if the organizer of the bracket pool is taking a cut, it could be a different story. 

"A law enforcement agency or a prosecutor may say, 'This guy was making $10,000 by organizing this pool. We've got to enforce the law. We don't want to encourage people to do it this way,'" said Calderon, who categorized betting on brackets as a technical violation of the law.

Calderon advised that participants should just fill out a bracket for fun and bragging rights, and not put any wager on it.

If there is going to be a wager involved, then organizers and participants shouldn't flaunt it and keep a low profile about the contest.

If you're paying on an online site like Paypal to participate, Calderon said to keep the words NCAA and bracket away from your payment.

"They've been known to flag accounts. It is gambling and Paypal doesn't want to be associated with anything illegal," Calderon said.

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