4 Questions For Employers As March Madness Bounces Back

Law360, March 17, 2021, by Vin Gurrieri — The college basketball tournament known as March Madness tips off Thursday, offering a glimmer of levity as the pandemic wears on and presenting employers with some new twists on familiar challenges. 

After being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA tournament returns as employers have implemented numerous measures, like telework and mask mandates, that have given the workplace a far different look from the last time a college basketball champion was crowned. These changes may create a new range of problems for businesses on top the gambling concerns that usually accompany the tournament.

Here, Law360 looks at four questions companies should ask themselves as the tournament commences.

Can Employers Promote a Pool?

One potential pitfall employers may run into when the Big Dance starts is deciding to sponsor a pool where the top finishers stand to pocket big cash — contests that often generate plenty of interest since filling out a bracket requires not even a rudimentary knowledge of college basketball.

“Generally, it’s illegal and folks are risking criminal prosecution. No one is supposed to do it and I don’t think employers should necessarily endorse it,” said Laura Jacobsen, a Reno, Nevada-based partner at McDonald Carano LLP and co-head of the firm’s employment and labor practice. She also noted that the potential legal risk may be higher for companies in highly regulated industries, like the financial sector.


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About McDonald Carano

McDonald Carano has helped to shape the Nevada business and legal landscape for 70 years. With more than 60 lawyers and government affairs professionals in our offices in Las Vegas and Reno, we are Nevada's law firm for business. We proudly represent Fortune 500 companies, financial and governmental institutions, fast-growth and mid-market companies, entrepreneurs, start-up ventures, non-profit organizations and individuals. Our attorneys deliver cross-discipline, one-stop, commercial law and government affairs counsel. Our dedication to clients, innovative thinking and practical solutions based in sound business and legal judgments are at the heart of our practice. For more information, visit mcdonaldcarano.com, call 775.788.2000 (Reno office), or 702.873.4100 (Las Vegas office) or reach us by email at info@mcdonaldcarano.com.

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