March Madness points out need to know legal, illegal sports gambling

Just as the NCAA tournament has been demonstrating the ups and downs of college basketball, state gaming officials said it is wise for social gamblers to understand the ins and outs of social gambling.

Dan Bergin

Sports betting is illegal in Arizona, and while the Arizona Department of Gaming has a team ready to deal with that, there are legal exceptions, including social gambling that involves such things as office grid pools and modest bracket tournaments among family and friends.

“Making a bracket is a fun, time-honored tradition across the country each March. The Arizona Department of Gaming wants to make sure that you know and follow state law,” ADG Director Dan Bergin stated in a release.

ADG officials said Arizonans should become familiar with circumstances that suggest illegal gambling:

  • Fee charged to participate (“suggested” or “voluntary” donations, rental fees, etc.).
  • Host who keeps a percentage of the pool to administer the game.
  • Minimum purchase required to participate (food or beverage, etc.).
  • Unequal odds.
  • Underage participants (under 21 years of age).

Social gambling obligates hosts to pay out all pool money to winners and establishes that only participants can win, according to ADG officials.

Those who have a tip concerning suspected illegal gambling or need information should call 602-771-4263. To learn more, visit Social Gambling Tips.

ADG provides and supports education, prevention and treatment programs for people and families affected by problem gambling through its Division of Problem Gambling and 24-hour, confidential helpline, 1-800-NEXT-STEP.

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