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Are you and your colleagues thinking about throwing down some cash by the water cooler to bet on the Oscars?
You might think placing a bet on "12 Years a Slave" for "Best Picture" would be a nice way to cheer on an excellent frontrunner, liven up your work day, and make a few extra bucks.
But is it actually legal to bet on the Oscars at work?
Skill v. Chance
To answer that question, let's look at how state gambling laws are worded.
In general, an element of "chance" is required for a game to violate a state anti-gambling statute. For example, under the "dominant factor test," which many states follow, a game violates a state's anti-gambling law when there's more chance than skill involved.
So is betting on the Oscars a game of skill or chance?
A tongue-and-cheek San Francisco Chronicle article contends that an Oscar pool is a game of neither skill nor chance. The joke, of course, is that the Oscars are rigged and skew in favor of whichever movie or actor has the most buzz, not the most talent or skill *cough* "Silver Linings Playbook"/"American Hustle"/David O. Russell *cough*.
Oscar Office Pools
Regardless of the status of the Oscars, office pools are legal in many states, but there are exceptions.
Ask yourself the following questions to help determine the legality of your Oscar pool:
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