It happens every year about this time. There is that one person in the office who wants to know if 'you are in or not' on the office NCAA bracket pool. Whether it's for office bragging rights or it's only $10, a lot of people will end up filling out a bracket (Selection Sunday is this weekend). But is it legal here in Minnesota? As it turns out, it depends.

If you happen to be in an organized pool at school or the office, there’s a chance it’s not legal in Minnesota. Whether or not your pool is legal revolves around the definition of a bet.

According to  the legal definition of a bet is a "means the staking or risking by any person of something of value upon the outcome of a contest of others, a sporting event, or a game subject to chance, upon an agreement or understanding that the person or another person will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.”

If you’ve already paid to be in a pool, no need to panic.

Chances are that the state of Minnesota is NOT going to be running around trying to investigate office pools.There are just too many of them going on, and there isn't enough staff to catch them all. BUT that doesn't mean you should wager money on your bracket pools.

Instead have your bracket pool give something exciting to play for. You know, something other than money. Some ideas would be the loser has to wear a funny shirt, or have a nice trophy that stays with the winner. Maybe the winner gets to start work an hour later the next day.

Another note if you are exchanging money in your bracket pool, aka betting, is that in Minnesota, gambling winnings are taxable. Your losses you can deduct on the federal tax return, just not on the state level. So if you do win a bracket challenge, you technically have to report it to the IRS.

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