Q. A senior vice president in our company wants to run a Super Bowl pool. A few of us are nervous about conducting office pools involving money. We don’t expect the company will profit from such a pool, although the individual vice president could win the pool. Are office pools like these legal in New York?
A. In New York, these pools are not illegal as long as no person takes a cut of the fees to run or service it. Essentially, all the money that goes into the pot must go back out to the winners.
Lost productivity and the creation of a gambling past practice are clearly problems in the workplace.
Also, if allowed to occur during work time, whatever “no-solicitation” rules you have in place may become unenforceable during a union campaign or other future event. Of course, these interests must be balanced against employee dissatisfaction should you prohibit the pool.
If allowed, some clearly defined workplace rules would be advisable.