Basketball pools as illegal sport

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The NCAA basketball tournament is upon us, and with it, myriad pools.

In that light, the Indiana Problem Gambling Awareness Program, a state-funded program to prevent and treat addictions, issued a release today noting that sports betting has increased in the past decade despite it being illegal everywhere in the country but Nevada.

Sports betting figures heavily in the activities of 41 percent of college students who say they took part in some type of gambling annually, the program said.

Easy access to credit cards and online gambling opportunities have contributed to students developing about twice the rate of “problem” gambling as the overall population. About 3 percent to 4 percent of college students lie to friends about their habit, gamble to escape hassles of life, use tuition money to pay gambling debts and so on.

While noting the illegal nature of March Madness pools, Lay says they actually don’t create many problems.

“For most people, it’s fine,” said project Director Mary Lay. “But for people who might have a problem with gambling, it’s another opportunity.”

Is participating in the pools sort of like breaking speed limits — everyone does it, so what’s the harm? Or are they more harmful than they appear?

Other thoughts?

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