Buying football squares ahead of Super Bowl LVI, is it legal?
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Cincinnati Bengals take on the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI at So-Fi stadium on February 13th.
According to the American Gaming Association, a record number of Americans will bet on the game.
Sports betting is illegal in Texas, but there is a way to get a friendly wager in without breaking the law.
More people are turning to a common form of sports betting called the square.
The process is simple. Buy a square. Get your numbers, and hope the score at the end of each quarter lines up. But is it against the law in Texas?
Tom Brummett at the Lubbock County District Attorney’s office says it’s not, as long as three rules are closely followed.
First, all participants must have the same chance to win.
Second, the person organizing the squares can’t get a cut of the money.
And finally, it must be done in a private place. That means buying squares at a corner store or a sports bar is out of the question.
“When you find yourself in a convenience store and they’re selling squares, my recommendation would be to be very wary of that,” Brummett said. “Be very careful because you don’t inadvertently want to find yourself on the wrong side of things.”
So what does that mean for the pool at work, or a grid at a friend’s house before the game?
“Some offices may be considered public places, you gotta be careful about that,” Brummett said. “But generally, if it was in somebody’s home, it’s a private place, nobody’s making a percentage off the top, there’s no rake and other than skill or luck, the chances are the same and the winnings are divided evenly, then you’re gonna be okay.”
If those rules are broken, organizers can be charged with up to a Class A misdemeanor or $4,000 fine. Participants can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor for buying an illegal square.
“If it was me, I wouldn’t buy any squares unless it was momma, daddy, grandma or cousins there at the house,” Brummett said. “I’m not saying that anything else is going to be per se illegal, but I can just tell you keep it small, keep it in the family, keep it friendly and generally the criminal justice system is not gonna be interested in you.”
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