If you’re betting on college hoops tourney, be mannerly about it - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

If you’re betting on college hoops tourney, be mannerly about it

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Posted: Monday, March 13, 2006 6:19 am | Updated: 4:53 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

We’re pleased that you took this brief break from photocopying tournament brackets and checking George Washington University’s schedule strength to read up on the issues of the day, including NCAA men’s basketball tournament office pools.

Employee productivity takes a serious hit today across the country, as bracket sheets are distributed and filled in, and the relative merits of Gonzaga University star Adam Morrison are debated at the water cooler.

According to InfoPlease.com, the FBI estimates that more than $2.5 billion is gambled on the NCAA tournament each year, with only $80 million bet through sports books in Nevada. The remainder is wagered to an immense degree in office pools, which typically require a $5 to $20 fee per bracket entered (some folks hedge their bets by submitting multiple entries).

Office pools have been deemed “social gambling,” and therefore legal, by the Arizona Department of Gaming. We encourage those participating to do so in moderation and keep things in perspective.

According to a 2005 release from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, “studies speculate U.S. businesses will lose anywhere from $400 million to $1.5 billion in productivity diverted to gambling pools” during the tourney’s 15-day run. Still, Diane Swanson, an associate professor of management at K-State, is among many business analysts who contend that the pools boost employee morale and cameraderie.

“Such activities at work do create a bond among employees and increase their interest in being at work and foster a climate of solidarity,” Swanson said in the release.

So we encourage those playing office pools to be respectful of the companies that pay their salaries; start by checking your company’s policy on office gambling. And keep in mind that many of your co-workers could not care less about who Duke Univerisity is playing in the first round.

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