HR Hotline: Can We Ban Sports Betting Pools in Our Workplace?
Q: Now that football season is in full swing, employees have begun talking about organizing a betting pool for the Super Bowl. Can we ban such pools?
Instead, many businesses have policies that disclaim any official company involvement, prohibit employees from using company equipment or resources in setting up pools, or from doing this during work time.
They also often require that any money raised from a betting pool voluntarily organized by employees must be paid to the winners, with no “profits” going to the organizers.
As an alternative, some companies themselves organize a pool that doesn’t involve employees paying or winning money. Instead, the pools offer modest prizes such as gift certificates to a local store or restaurant, paid for by the company.
With such a strategy, employees’ participation should be voluntary. If a lot of employees want to participate, the event might even be turned into a morale booster, prompting more interaction among groups of workers who might otherwise not have a common-interest topic of conversation.
Team building concepts can often be found on strange playing fields, possibly leading to some work-related discussions and new business opportunities.
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