It's March! Are You Feeling The Madness? How About The Luck?

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

Feeling the madness with the NCAA right now? How about lucky?
If you are taking part in a betting pool, you could be breaking the law.

From the hardwood, to the office, and even the sports bar--it's spreading fast. March Madness is hitting the Commonwealth hard like a plague as the NCAA men's basketball tournaments get into high gear.

Also getting into high gear is the number of bets outside the home; no matter how small in monetary value, these bets are illegal in Virginia.

"Gambling is illegal in Virginia. There is an exception to the rule called 'A Game of Chance' that allows you to bet in your private residence for something like a baseball game with friends. If it becomes a habit, it can be punishable with a class 3 misdemeanor," said Sergeant Pam Greenwood, with Albemarle County Police.

It seems everyone is betting something, based on their team's hopeful position in the bracket.

Bracketology has become somewhat of a curriculum for college basketball fans as they follow a grid to cross off teams as they lose.

"It's going to be Michigan State over Duke. How far they go? We'll have to wait to find out," said Chris May, a Michigan State graduate.

"N.C. State. I am actually a Wake Forest fan, but I'll vote for N.C. State tonight," said Betsy Wood, a patron inside Jaberwocke.

As each person is different, and their picks for a favorite team varies, how about their opinions on betting on the big dance?

"It really doesn't affect me that much because I do not bet that much money," said Matt Britt, another guest inside the local bar.

"I think it is a good law. Most people probably will not get caught under that law," a bar patron said.

While the bets may seem friendly enough, and signing a roster to take part in the group bet as a team player makes the games more interesting, it can cause trouble.

"It's also to prevent people and animals from getting hurt. People will bet on people fights, and animal fights," Sgt. Greenwood added.

Nonetheless, people still continue to make bets on the games each year. In fact, some said they make more than one bet during March Madness, and consider the games to be more important than Superbowl Sunday.


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