March has arrived. Clocks spring forward, days seem longer, temperatures begin their gradual climb upward, and along with spring fever NCAA Madness sets in.
Today is bracket day, and offices across the metro area open water cooler betting pools. This year’s tournament is expected to be heavily watched. CBS Sports and Turner Sports recently announced free, live-streaming broadcasts of the games to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch customers.
A Spherion Staffing Services study released today found 46 percent of those surveyed participated in office pools. March Madness is especially popular, surpassed only by the Super Bowl.
A sure bet is that most of us will put down a fiver and tune into the games surreptitiously, but before you post your bracket picks on the break room wall, it’s wise to check with the HR department regarding your company’s policies on office betting.
Management’s main concern with office pools and workday game viewing remains productivity.
Whether on purpose or by design, office management doesn’t always clearly articulate its stance on office pools. The Spherion survey found 37 percent didn’t know their company’s policy, and 16 percent said their company had policies against betting.
The nasty truth is, in the District, Maryland and Virginia, NCAA Tournament pools are illegal. Granted, the feds rarely cast their sights on small-fish office pools, however, in this cash-strapped government environment, what was once a guppie may look more like a whale.
As likely as it is, KU will sweep the Sweet 16 victorious, those of us who live and die by March’s brackets will pay little heed to these inconvenient facts. Tread lightly and hope you work for companies who turn a blind eye, and for bosses who favor your team.
Rock Chalk Jayhawk!