Legal-ease: Is my bracket pool legal?

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney with Schroeder Law LLC in Ottawa. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at or at (419) 523-5523. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

Filling out a bracket for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is an activity done by millions of people across the country. But rules outlining what constitutes ‘gambling’ may make your tournament bracket pool illegal. Before your bracket gets busted this year, you should be aware of the laws affecting it.

The NCAA coordinates a single-elimination men’s basketball tournament involving 68 of the best teams from across the country. Those teams compete in games that are broadcast live everywhere in America over the course of three weeks each year. That tournament began last week.

Almost every news or sports website and publication provides printable brackets identifying every initial game as well as a chart identifying each winning team’s next opponent. This tournament naturally attracts basketball enthusiasts and novices alike to make (sometimes educated) guesses concerning which team will win each game. It is estimated that this year, more than 40 million Americans will wager over $2 billion on friendly “pools,” where participants predict winners of each game with the best guessers in each pool winning all or most of the money that each participant paid to enter the contest.

Read Lee’s full article in the Lima News here: Legal-Ease: Is my bracket pool legal?

Source:, Legal-Ease: Is my bracket pool legal? by Lee R. Schroeder, March 21, 2015

Posted in Event Law, General Law.