Have you decided whether to join your office pool? Filling out a bracket and putting in $20 may seem like no big deal, but it's still gambling. And gambling is not allowed at Bushwood Country Club (vague Caddyshack reference) or in Illinois. Some states allow office pools, but here, it's is a misdemeanor the first time, and a felony for any subsequent convictions.
It's doubtful, however, that the police are going to show up and arrest you at your desk, especially if the bets are low and nothing gets out of hand. The real issue is what your employer says about office pools. Some prohibit office gambling, for a couple of reasons. First of all, it significantly cuts down on productivity, or so they say. Second, an employer who allows it to happen on their property can be in legal trouble, too.
Maybe everyone's doing it, but don't assume it's allowed. Even if you haven't heard your boss say you can't participate in office pools, it might be in the employee handbook in fine print. Your employer may look the other way, just like the cops, especially if they want to be liked by their employees. However, you could be risking your job, or giving your employer a reason to fire you if they're looking for one. So, in these glad-to-have-a-job days, it's something to think about.
All that said, of course I will be participating in my office pool and I bet you will too. There are stories of guys down at the Board of Trade doing pools where the winner gets six figures as the prize. The reality is that our small group is of no concern to anyone and neither is yours. If your boss doesn't care about it - and they shouldn't - then go for it.
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