Fantasy Sports

March Madness Is Here! Let's All Pretend We Don't Gamble.

Forty million Americans will bet on the college basketball tourney even though it's not really legal.


The NCAA college basketball championship—known as March Madness—officially kicks off today with Selection Sunday where college officials unveil the 68 teams selected to make the tournament. Not only is the sporting event a popular television ratings get, but it's also big time business for sports gaming. 

Marc Edelman, a sports law professor at Baruch College, notes that in 2015 the American Gaming Association estimated that nearly 40 million Americans would bet $9 billion on the NCAA tournament. Most of this wagering is done underground because sports gambling is illegal in most parts of the country. 

While many fans of college basketball will be filling out their brackets and putting money down in office pools, a growing segment of fans are turning to daily fantasy sports sites to cash in on the action. But if you live in states like New York— where lawmakers are claiming daily fantasy sports are illegal games of chance— you may not be able to take in part in all the fun. 

Reason TV recently looked at the daily fantasy sports issue and asked why state-sponsored forms of gaming were okay, while other forms of gaming were deemed to be too harmful for the public. 

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  1. I’m betting I won’t be betting on the games.

  2. the American Gaming Association estimated that nearly 40 million Americans would bet $9 billion on the NCAA tournament. Most of this wagering is done underground because sports gambling is illegal in most parts of the country.

    I’m not so sure workplace/bar-room ‘brackets’ contests are quite as underground and illegal as people think.

    at least last i checked. I used to kick in $50-100 to submit a bracket at companies i worked at in the past. And a local pub i used to spend a lot of time in would do the same every year. Have they made them 100% “illegal” now?

    1. Those workplace/barroom brackets are technically illegal. Nobody cares. Until they do.

      1. We were just given the warning of fireable offense couple weeks ago

        1. It was a big no-no at my wife’s former accounting firm.

      2. We were just given the warning of fireable offense couple weeks ago

        1. Do the squirrels not approve of the warning or of NCAA tournament brackets?

      3. Ok, yeah, i guess that makes sense.

        The places where it was “Normal” were actually fairly smaller-ish companies. when i was at a “Big Bank”, it was done on some ‘whisper’ level where it was not supposed to be officially acknowledged.

        And the bars where i saw it pop up every year? Oh, they all had enough police-customers that i dont’ think anyone worried

  3. In Europe half the soccer teams are sponsored by betting sites and in Australia the announcer gives you the current betting stats before a football match. But here in the US I’m not grown up enough to make that decision.

  4. OT: Has anyone else noticed that spambots seem to be more active these days?

    1. Yeah, the trolls were definitely feeding this morning.

      1. Pretty soon Interwebz comment boards will be populated only by “Maek munnay at h ***me!!!!!!” Possibly an improvement, though.

  5. Gambling is evil. If you gamble you have less money for useful things. Like taxes to pay welfare to people to spend on the lottery!

    1. “Gambling is evil, unless we, your ruling class state overlords, are getting our cut of the action.”

  6. From what I understand, betting on the NCAA tournament is kinda like roulette – so should I bet on black?

    1. Regardless of records. KY, NC, and Kansas are usually pretty good bets. MSU has been up there as well. Of course you don’t win picking the favorites, you win by picking the upsets.

      1. If my wife is anything to go by, you win by picking the best uniform colors and mascots. She’s won the overall pot or other major bets each of the last 5 years with that gambit. I don’t think the guys are going to let her into the pool this year…..

        1. Yeah, the only problem with picking the best uniform colors is I ain’t a chick, so how would I know which are the “best-looking”? Most of my clothes are gray for just that reason, except my wedding/funeral/graduation suit which is a tasteful Realtree APG.

        2. My wife was thrown out of her office pool – she won too often. She’d decide which of two schools she’d rather attend and pick the other to win.

    2. Don’t bet on black. Bet on white; take Wisconsin for the longshor win.

  7. I don’t gamble. I’ll usually print off a bracket and fill it out for my own personal amusement. I’ll pretty consistently hit about 75% first round and then go downhill from there. I’ll have lost at least 2 eights and 1 four by the end of the first weekend.

    1. If tou can cosistently hit at 75%, you should be in Vegas.

      1. He’s not picking against the spread, he’s just picking the winners, like any normal bracket.

        There’s nothing impressive about picking 75% of the first round winners. Simply taking all the higher seeded teams will pretty much always get you that.

        1. Yeah, that’s pretty normal in the first round. The 1 v. 16 and 2 v. 15 basically guarantee 8 wins, plus most of the 3s, 4s, 5s, and 6s win too.

    1. I think I am seeing what you did there

  8. To all my #FloridaMan. I shall be attending the event for the dominant mammal with large hands tomorrow…

    …Anyone up for a liquid lunch pre-party? I will be at Bad Monkey at 1230…bitches

  9. What seed is Trump University?


    I’m going to have to just give up on Ars Technica. Been reading this site since the end of the last century and nowadays they can’t seem to stop fusing their politics in to every article – even where its not appropriate. Like their review of the videogame ‘The Division’.

    This time around, there’s a ‘problem’ with the *show* ‘Silicon Valley’ because the *place* Silicon valley isn’t diverse and the show is only as diverse as the place. So the show’s cast is reasonably representative of the ethnic makeup of the place, but since the place isn’t ethnically diverse enough – the show should have ignored that and made its cast more diverse.

    If you did that in a move (like, say, ‘Gods of Egypt’, you get accused of ‘whitewashing’).

    1. **HEAVY SIGH**

      Yeah, a lot of sites like Ars Technica were good back in the Elder Days, but with few exceptions, they’ve all gone to sh!t now.

      It’s almost enough to make a guy give up on the ‘Net. Which may not be such a bad thing…

    2. Even worse, the writer seems to think Silicon Valley is ‘fucked up’ for not being diverse enough.

      But if you’re hiring coders, you’re obviously going to be hiring the best people for the job. He’s therefore arguing that it’s fucked up to hire an Asian who can actually code over, say, a black person who can’t code.

      Other than a professional sports team, Silicon Valley is probably the most meritocratic place in the United States. It’s not their fault if the people who get educated enough to do the work happen to come from certain races.

      1. It’s “fucked up” that the Knicks aren’t hiring more Asian women players.

        1. It’s ‘fucked up’ I’m not diverse enough.

  11. Has anyone setup a Reason bracket yet. If so, where?

    1. Not that I’m aware of. I guess someone will post something in the AM/PM links like the couple of years.

  12. Dude do you know howgoof that really sounds?

  13. I think it is typically legal to gamble so long as no one is taking a cut of the pot.

    Little old ladies get busted when the host takes an entry fee to cover gin and tonic.

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