Is it legal to bet on the NCAA Basketball Tournament?

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Julio Franco

Posts: 8,675   +1,549
Staff member

With the NCAA Basketball Tournament set to begin, you are probably getting your brackets ready for the office pool in the hopes of winning the pot collected from everyone throwing in a few bucks to make it interesting. The thing is, you and your coworkers are breaking the law.

According to the American Gaming Association, 40 million people fill out brackets each March and wager an estimated $9 billion, which is twice the amount of money bet on the Super Bowl each year. But of that $9 billion, only $65 million is bet legally, with $2 billion being bet in the kind of pools in which you're probably partaking. (The remainder is presumably bet either online as mentioned below or on street corners.)

When is sports betting legal?

In the United States, it is illegal to bet on sports in all but four states — Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana. Even there, bets can only be made in-person.

But you may have seen websites advertising that they take bets on sports. Is that legal?

That such websites are based offshore in places like Curaçao probably answers that question. As the New York Times detailed, placing bets with such shady sites requires complicated schemes for transferring funds and there's no guarantee that you will ever seeing your winnings. So while places like BetOnline.com may tout the reasoning of "because you can," we say don't do it because you can get arrested.

But what about fantasy sports?

Perhaps further confusing the issue of the legality of sports betting is the phenomenon of online fantasy sports. Once a kind of Dungeons & Dragons for sports geeks, it is now big business, with FanDuel and DraftKings, the industry's big players (no pun intended), valued at well over a $1 billion each.

In fantasy sports, fans draft players onto their virtual teams, and the fan whose collection of players performs the best wins the pot. Such fantasies were once played out over the course of a season, but with the advent of daily competitions and increased number of competition and bets, it's become very lucrative for these sites.

In the eyes of the government, what separates fantasy betting from traditional bets is that the latter is just luck and chance, while the former involves skill (due to the assembling of your fantasy team). The argument can certainly be made, though, that there is just as much uncertainty and chance involved as the results are based on actual sports, especially when one looks at the actual odds of winning. One study revealed that in half a season of Major League Baseball, 91% of fantasy winnings were won by just 1.3% of players.

So the bottom line is that in the United States, sports betting is only legal in very specified forms. If you want to keep your nose clean, head to Vegas to place your bet or enter one of the contests online, like ESPN's Tournament Challenge, awarding prizes.

Stephen Slaybaugh is a senior staff writer at dealnews. Republished with permission.

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yRaz

Posts: 3,386   +2,921
I don't understand why anyone has the right to tell me what I can and can't do with my money. The only difference between legal and illegal is that someone put a signature on piece of paper saying you can't do something and is then enforced by people that said person gave power to. Our laws are just as fiat as our currency.
 

Yynxs

Posts: 544   +184
TechSpot Elite
I don't understand why anyone has the right to tell me what I can and can't do with my money. The only difference between legal and illegal is that someone put a signature on piece of paper saying you can't do something and is then enforced by people that said person gave power to. Our laws are just as fiat as our currency.
yRaz, not sure of your country. Presuming US because reply was to article about US laws. Your protest

"...The only difference between legal and illegal is that someone put a signature on piece of paper saying you can't do something and is then enforced by people that said person gave power to. Our laws are just as fiat as our currency..."

indicates a complete lack of understanding of civilization and people. Be that as it may, if you are in the US, you have representative or two in Congress. Those representatives can change the "...piece of paper..." being "...enforced..." on you without your understanding.

Write them. Explain why you think betting should be legal for you either on-line, or in your state at a betting parlor. For good measure, explain the part where the Federal government gets to collect income tax on winnings before they're paid to you the bettor, if the bets move out off the local pool and onto a monitorable web page. More available tax money ALWAYS gets your representatives' attention.
 

learninmypc

Posts: 9,277   +684
Life is a gamble & we all do it. Whether or not it is legal to gamble on the NCAA basketball don't matter, its going to be done anyway. #JM2CENTS :)
 

Yynxs

Posts: 544   +184
TechSpot Elite
Have you read your posts? I answered honestly and completely that if you're a US citizen, you have control of your representatives, e.g. if you're old enough to vote, then they have to listen. Even gave you a reasonable 'in' with them on taxes. You gave a nothing reply. If I had to guess, I would say it's a cultural reference to some movie about aliens and signs that can only be seen with special glasses. But even that 'cleverness' possibility went out the window with 'strawman'. You answered like the left wing troll crowd, and a hack troll at that.

Your original post says you don't believe civilization's rules should apply to you, let alone this one's. There is a difference between legal and illegal that goes beyond someone having the power to enforce it. Apparently you didn't get that. Equally, the power to enforce is in your voting hands. Not really sure you understand that, especially from the cookie cutter replies.

I'm not discrediting . I am answering you properly and fully, and the last post was in your language apparently, because you woke up enough to make a full sentence instead of a propaganda meme. You don't like the law the way it is, get it changed. Stop saying "I don't understand why..." and start finding out.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,386   +2,921
Have you read your posts? I answered honestly and completely that if you're a US citizen, you have control of your representatives, e.g. if you're old enough to vote, then they have to listen. Even gave you a reasonable 'in' with them on taxes. You gave a nothing reply. If I had to guess, I would say it's a cultural reference to some movie about aliens and signs that can only be seen with special glasses. But even that 'cleverness' possibility went out the window with 'strawman'. You answered like the left wing troll crowd, and a hack troll at that.

Your original post says you don't believe civilization's rules should apply to you, let alone this one's. There is a difference between legal and illegal that goes beyond someone having the power to enforce it. Apparently you didn't get that. Equally, the power to enforce is in your voting hands. Not really sure you understand that, especially from the cookie cutter replies.

I'm not discrediting . I am answering you properly and fully, and the last post was in your language apparently, because you woke up enough to make a full sentence instead of a propaganda meme. You don't like the law the way it is, get it changed. Stop saying "I don't understand why..." and start finding out.
I've been posting from mobile all day, when I get home I will give your post the proper response it deserves. Also, I try to avoid talking about my work or education as anyone who does so usually comes off as a douche online.
 
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