|March Madness, the NCAA College Basketball tournament, is one of the year’s highlights for bookmakers in Nevada, offshore sports books and organized crime – but most of the money bet will be via office pools. Which is fine if you live in New Jersey, where such pools are legal, but not in others: Florida, for instance, specifically bars any exchange of funds in a game of chance, and violations of the law are punishable as a second-degree misdemeanor.|
However, some companies are now banning office pools, saying that they cause lost productivity.
The FBI estimates that $2.5 billion was wagered last year on the tournament, the majority of that being wagered on office pools.
Las Vegas bookmakers 'only' took $80 million in NCAA tourney bets last year.
But Ed Looney, executive director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey estimates another 20 % on top of that number could be added in strictly illegal gambling, either through a local bookie or online.
'Organized crime is still a huge player in sports betting,' Looney said. 'Much bigger than the Internet, though we are seeing a lot more action over the Internet.'