March Madness: How to deal with office betting pools

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Issue: The NCAA basketball tournament has turned many a workplace into mini-Las Vegas, as employees feverishly study the stats that may mean victory in the office betting pool.

Risk: Betting pools can sap productivity, but the real danger comes from compulsive gamblers on your payroll.

Action: Don't crack down on minor pools, but write a policy on habitual gambling at work.

A workplace betting pool is like that five-mile-per-hour buffer above the speed limit: While it's technically illegal, it rarely draws the attention of law-enforcement entities.

Your organization probably won't face legal trouble for tolerating small betting pools among employees, but it could face other problems, including declining productivity. The HR consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimates lost productivity during the 2011 tournament, which begins this week, will top $1 billion.

One management guru even sees an upside to NCAA tournament...(register to read more)

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