This is the week when everyone in the office joins in that Super Bowl betting pool. But what seems like harmless fun to most people is actually against the law here in Texas. "It's illegal," says Dallas-based attorney Cleve Clinton. "Now, realistically and practically, is anybody going to do anything about it...no." He tells KTRH that Texas law has such a broad definition of gambling, that technically any betting pool violates state law. Whether or not the state chooses to enforce that depends on a few factors. "The first thing you really want to look at is how big of a pool are we talking about, the second thing is who's running it, and the third, will someone profit by it," says Clinton.
While Texas does have strong laws against gambling, most low-stakes office pools should be all right, as long as they are run by an individual and not the company, and nobody takes a profit or fee off the top for organizing or running the pool. "It risks becoming a problem when you get out of bounds on size or (scope)," says Clinton.
Aside from the legality, office pools have proven a popular way to boost company loyalty and morale. These days, most bosses allow or even encourage pools around events like the Super Bowl or March Madness. "Anytime that the office staff gets together and has fun together, this is a positive for company culture," says Michael Houlihan, workplace culture expert and author of The Barefoot Spirit. He tells KTRH that betting pools are one of the only office activities that can get everyone involved, even those who don't follow sports. "What I find most interesting is that it's usually the women who win these pools," laughs Houlihan. "The men make the most noise, but the women win."