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Super Bowl Pools: Both Legal and Tricky [AUDIO]

It’s the time of year when work and gambling fit perfectly together, as long as things don’t get out of hand.

Super Bowl XLVIII logo
Super Bowl XLVIII logo (Facebook)

You’ve probably already been confronted by your office’s Super Bowl pool, or you’re the one who’s running it. Generally speaking, these kinds of pools are legal in New Jersey. The organizer, though, must make sure they’re not taking any money off the top. It’s also important to keep all action within the state’s borders; beyond that, federal law can come into play.

Kathleen McLeod Caminiti, a partner with labor law firm Fisher & Phillips in Murray Hill, said office pools can actually have a positive effect on the workplace by boosting camaraderie and picking up the mood after the holidays. However, workers would be smart to keep the stakes low.

“When the stakes get higher, it sounds less like ‘social gambling,’ which is legal, and more like gambling for profit, which is illegal,” Caminiti said. “If it’s $5 to $20 to buy a box, for example, on a Super Bowl pool, that’s a very different set of circumstances than a $1,000 bet.”

Caminiti noted pools have the tendency to put a strain on workplace productivity, so employers have to put a lid on the amount of time spent on gambling. Also, employers would be better off by letting an individual employee, not the company itself, sponsor the pool.

“You have to be careful that it’s voluntary – that there’s no peer pressure,” Caminiti added. “Some religions, for example, are against gambling. Some people might not have an extra five bucks to spend at this time of the year.”

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