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Game Over

Office betting pools can land you in hot water.
September 1, 1998

Your employees have set up a pool for a sports event, and you look the other way--or maybe even chip in a few bucks. After all, the betting pool isn't affecting anyone's job performance.

But if you think this is harmless fun, think again. Sports betting is illegal in the United States. The only way you can place a legal bet is to do so with a licensed agent in the state of Nevada, says Paul Bresson of the FBI.

Of course, tossing a few dollars into a weekly football pool won't put you on the FBI's Most Wanted List. Gambling law violations are handled by local authorities, who typically don't pay much attention to office
betting pools.

But just because you aren't likely to be arrested doesn't mean it's a good idea for any business owner to condone breaking the law. Set a good example by establishing and enforcing an anti-gambling policy. And Bresson points out one more thing: All income, from sources that are legal or otherwise, must be reported to the IRS.

Jacquelyn Lynn is a business writer in Winter Park, Florida.

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