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Super Bowl betting pools: Nice diversion or super problem?

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in HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Office betting pools are like that five-mile-per-hour buffer above the speed limit—technically illegal but rarely enforced.

But while you probably won't face legal trouble for tolerating betting pools at your workplace, you could face other problems, including declining productivity and potential theft from a desperate, compulsive gambler.

The "big kahuna" of office pools occurs this week: the Super Bowl. (See box at left.)

How do most businesses handle pools? They look the other way.

In fact, 57 percent of HR professionals said they don't worry about whether betting pools occur in their workplace, according to a 2002 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey. Thirty percent of respondents said their organizations don't allow betting pools, while 14 percent said their organizations do allow pools.

Advice: You'll do more harm than good by cracking down on minor pools. The bigger threat comes from compulsive gamblers who sap the company's time.

Add a policy that lays out consequences for habitual gambling at work. Good resources: National Council on Problem Gambling, www.ncpgambling.org or Gamblers Anonymous, www.gamblersanonymous.org.

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