Before you bust out your favorite game day buffalo chicken dip recipe and give your jersey an extra wash, settling in to a night of fantasy football drafting is certain to get you back in the football mood.
What’s more exciting than watching your team run back the opening kickoff for a touchdown? That kick returner having a cozy spot on your fantasy team.
A workplace fantasy football league is a great way to encourage employee engagement, boost morale and even learn a thing or two (hey, there’s strategy involved!). But before you go wagering November’s first paycheck on your first win, there are a few things to keep in mind-from both a business owner and employee perspective.
According to the legal center of the National Federation of Small Business, these are some of the items for consideration:
1. Check Local Gambling Laws
In general, fantasy football leagues are legal in most states based on these factors: wagers aren’t dependent on the outcome of real games, outcomes rely on participant skill and statistics and prizes aren’t drawn from a pool or determined by the number of participants in the game.
Some states are stricter than others. Residents in Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, and North Dakota should especially check with state laws in reference to a pay-to-play scenario.
2. Consider Implementing a Company Gambling Policy
If you’re a business owner and you do decide to permit a fantasy football league in the workplace, HR Legalist suggests implementing a policy that describes what type of gambling is allowed in the office.
If you don’t feel comfortable with involving any money at all, Inc. Magazine says turning it into a simple contest instead is just as fun. The winner could take home a handmade trophy out of gold spray-painted coffee cups or a candy bar of his or her choosing.
3. Avoid Endorsing the League
Make sure any potential participants know that involvement in the office league is entirely voluntary. What you may not realize is that a simple “Come on, it’s only 10 bucks!” can actually make people feel pressured and uncomfortable (which could lead to other HR issues).
4. Be Cognizant of Internet Use
Once the draft time has been set and other details have been ironed out, it’s important to try to keep productivity levels where they should be. Because we all know it’s easy to get carried away figuring out who to pick up during that desperate moment when you watch your star running back gets put on IR.
Be mindful of how much time you’re actually spending on stat checking…and the witty banter before it becomes a performance issue.
Bottom line, as long as you’re careful with how you promote and run the league (especially if there’s money involved), you’re probably safe. Local law enforcement is more than likely not concerned with your office’s pool, but these potential risks are good to have in the back of your mind.
Fantasy football was designed to be fun, so it should be.
Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may be applicable to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your own legal advisor regarding specific application of the information to your own plan.