Could your bracket get you busted? - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Could your bracket get you busted?

(PHOTO: FOX19 NOW/ Brett Hofland) (PHOTO: FOX19 NOW/ Brett Hofland)
FOX19 -

It's the most wonderful time of the year for college basketball fans.

Did you know those office brackets you fill out, are technically against the law?

The American Gaming Association predicts that Americans will bet $2 billion on 70 million brackets this year.

"People put a dollar amount on it just so there's something at stake," said Cincinnati resident, Ryan Conover.

"I just do it to show my competitive spirit and see what happens," said Louisville native, Dominique Roberts.

But FOX19 legal analyst Mike Allen says you can be prosecuted under state law.

"Let's say you have a big office and the office takes a cut of it, that's problematic," said FOX19 NOW legal analyst, Mike Allen.

If the operator of a big-time pool takes a cut with hundreds or even thousands of entries, Allen said that too could present issues.

Allen said he doesn't have knowledge of anyone being prosecuted for this and said it's unlikely law enforcement cracks down, because resources are stretched so thin.

"The Cincinnati police department or any other department around here is not going to send people out and look for people in NCAA pools," said Allen.

"It's not like gambling in my opinion. I mean you have people filling it out because of the color of their uniforms or the mascot they like," said Conover.

So it's likely you won't get busted for throwing down $10 on Xavier, $20 on Cincinnati or even $50 on UK in an office pool. Allen recommends that if you do score big, stay off social media.

"If you win a big pool and it's public knowledge, you probably better report that to the IRS," said Allen.

We want to know who you're picking in this year's March Madness, so chime in on our FOX19 Now Facebook page.

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