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The Risks of Betting on Sports in Your Office Here's how office pools may earn your company a major-league penalty.

By Gwen Moran Edited by Frances Dodds

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Wanna Bet?From March Madness brackets to pay-for-play fantasy football--in every season, there is an opportunity for employees to engage in good-natured sports wagering. There's no denying the popularity of office betting: A 2011 survey found that one in five workers have participated in March Madness office pools alone.

Trash-talking each other's favorite teams may seem like harmless workplace fun. Turns out, however, actually betting on those teams is illegal in most cases, according to attorney Michael J. Riccobono of Gibbons P.C. in Newark, N.J. Former currency broker John Bovery learned this the hard way when he was arrested in September 2010 at his Parlin, N.J., home for running a betting pool that reportedly raked in $850,000 per year.

While it's unlikely that the feds or local authorities are monitoring your business, waiting to snag brackets hot off the copy machine, office betting does put your company at risk. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 banned betting on professional and amateur sports in most states. Until 2009, it was a misdemeanor to run such pools in California, while in states like New Jersey, office pools are generally considered legal as long as the person or entity running the pool does not take a cut of proceeds.

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