Filled Out Your Bracket? Wait, Don’t Answer That.

SPOKANE — So have you filled out your tourney bracket yet? Think twice before you answer as these betting pools have been illegal in Washington State since the 1970s.

This gambling law was created back in the days of bell bottoms and disco and it all comes down to the format of the betting pool. The traditional bracket, most likely floating around your office isn’t mentioned, and so it’s illegal and according to state law it could lead to either a misdemeanor or a felony.

But how many people know that bracketology is illegal in Washington? To answer that question you would have to consult legal experts, like the attorneys at the law offices of Dunn and Black.

Attorney Kevin Roberts considers himself a law-abiding citizen working in the very serious business of complex civil litigation. But in between heavy reading and intense case work Roberts and fellow attorney Wes Mortensen get in some time to fill out some personal paperwork.

“My final four is Louisville, Memphis, Pitt and North Carolina,” Mortensen said.

“My predictions are pretty West Coast-centric and I’ve got the Zags going all the way, I think this is the breakthrough year for us,” Roberts said.

The law offices of Dunn and Black, like countless other businesses across the area, are caught up in March Madness.

With their brackets filled out the office pool is growing with 20 employees, even family members, all in on the action.

“This is pretty much one of my favorite times of year,” Roberts said.

Kevin Roberts graduated from the College of Law at the University of Idaho while co-worker Wes Mortensen graduated from the law school at Brigham Young University. Unfortunately for them, neither of them were aware of an obscure law on the books in Washington State that makes filling out their NCAA tourney brackets illegal.

“I’d need some further investigation, I didn’t know it was illegal,” Mortensen said.

The good news is that while the bracket format has been illegal since Jimmy Carter was president the law is rarely enforced.

“I reserve the right and all my future arguments … I haven’t waived anything . .. Yeah, if it’s illegal I’m not going to do it,” Mortensen said.

The Washington State Gambling Commission says it rarely gets a complaint and at most they issue a simple warning. But, if your bracket is confiscated the guys over at the law offices of Dunn and Black have a free word of advice.

“I would say first off, you only want to hire a good attorney,” Wes Mortensen said.

Just last year American businesses lost an estimated $1.2 Billion in worker productivity during the NCAA tournament mostly during the first two days which coincidentally starts Thursday.