FBI Cracks down on Facebook March Madness Betting Pools

March 19, 2008

I came across an interesting article this morning when I was scanning through news on the internet, dealing with the FBI. “Since online gambling is now illegal, if you bet real money in an online office pool on a social network, and then that real money changes hands in a payout, you can be charged with a crime.” Its interesting how people get bet on sports games legally here (for example through Atlantic Lottery Corporation) – and in the US it is illegal in most of the states.

I don’t see a problem in dealing with the idea of having online pools in facebook. Some people really keep up to date on sports games, and enter online pools. To me I do not see a difference at all dealing with buying a lottery ticket in the US, and betting on a sports game. Either way you do not know if you will win, and either way you are betting money.

Obviously some people can get out of hand and bet too much, and betting is a form of gambling. I just find it interesting how people can bet on sports games in Canada and not in the majority of States in the US.

Heres an interesting article that I found relating to this topic. It is interesting how Nevada and Atlantic City are the only two states where you are aloud to bet on sports games.

I decided to do a bit of research regarding on what some countries are doing regarding online gambling. George Bush is serious about shutting down online gambling web-sites in the US, which shows us the US Direction on this topic. In Canada, “Although operating online gambling sites here is supposed to be illegal, the Kahnawake Mohawk reserve in Quebec has been hosting dozens of betting sites for a decade, claiming that Canadian laws don’t apply to them. They insist that they maintain sovereign authority over Internet gambling on their territory, arguing gambling is part of their ancient rites and traditions.” Presently I do not think it is a big deal yet in Canada involving what Facebook is doing.

A lot of people are currently signed up on the CBSSports NCAA March Madness pool. I can see how these pools get out of hand by a few people who start writing bad comments on the pools wall on facebook. It is free to sign up for this pool, and there are prizes which makes people sign up.

I found this youtube video discussing how Texas HoldEm poker is becoming increasingly popular on facebook, the main clip of the video involving facebook is within the first minute.

As well I found it really interesting how people bet money on how long it will take to sing the national anthem. Its pretty crazy all the things that people bet on. I myself wonder if Social Networking Sites are going to keep these applications on their web-sites or not allow companies to put up applications involving gambling.

Different applications on facebook involving a form of gambling, but they are free to add to your facebook.

  • Jackpot – you get so many tickets per week, based on the amount of points you have accumulated.. Prizes are between $250 and $500 and the application is free to add.
  • Different hockey, and basketball pools.

There are over 20,000 different brackets on facebook, but not all of them are involved in a form of cash gambling.

It will be interesting to see what the FBI will do in this situation of betting pools on facebook. What do you think social networking sites will do in the future regarding companies putting applications on their networks involving gambling?

Mitchell Watts


2 Responses to “FBI Cracks down on Facebook March Madness Betting Pools”

  1. davecanvin Says:

    Interesting topic….

    I don’t know about Pro Line (through ALC). I personally don’t consider that to be betting. I find it to be more of a lottery game. Like I couldn’t go bet $10,000 for the Habs to beat the Bruins tomorrow night, it is a very limited and controlled system. Thats just my opinion.

    Now, a site like this http://www.intertops.com/ is betting. Take a look… Online roulette? seriously?

    I think Facebook is such a grey area right now. While it is online, it is truly the modern day “bulletin board.” What I mean is like 10 years ago, a person would post a notice on the office bulletin board advertising their NCAA pool and there would be no problems. However today in our age it is just easier and more convenient to post it on Facebook, which is illegal since it is an online platform.

    That’s my two cents.

  2. wattsy Says:

    It is much more convenient posting a pool on the internet for sure. It will be interesting to see what facebook does with pools like this in the future. I don’t think they should cut this aspect out of facebook – as it creates a lot of conversation between users on facebook. It gets a lot of people to sign online on facebook to check their pool results.

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