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The Vortex/Sucking Sound you hear is "March Madness"...

In what has become an annual proclamation, the Dallas Morning News trots out stats on workplace impact of March Madness/the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament:

"As many as 37 million people are expected to participate in the wagering, according to anDick_vitale  estimate by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a job counseling firm in Chicago.

No reliable statistic exists on how much money is gambled on the tournament. An oft-cited FBI estimate of $2.5 billion was dismissed recently by bureau spokeswoman Denise Ballew, who said the FBI has never done a study of sports gambling.

Las Vegas lawyer Anthony Cabot, an expert on sports gambling, estimated that Americans bet up to $100 billion on sports annually – and the two biggest events are the Super Bowl and the NCAA men's tournament. "There's no question that both of them are huge".

"The annual distraction could cost employers as much as $1.7 billion in wasted work time over the 16 business days of the tournament," said the consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That estimate is based on the amount of time spent on March Madness-related activities, including arguing with co-workers and watching games during business hours. It's also based on a conservative estimate that workers waste just 10 minutes a day on the tournament."

Also, see friend of the Capitalist Seth Borden pontificating on the issue at the New York Times.  So, what are your choices as the HR Lead for your company?  Three choices, with sub flavors, seem to be available:

1.  Police it, either directly or by shutting down access to search terms and sites known to host brackets (see ESPN and Yahoo for big volume plays);

2.  Embrace it, and run a pool (don't think you want to embrace betting on this type of thing, unless you are a HR pro in Vegas?) maybe with some prize money going to the non-profit organization of the winner's choice; or

3.  Ignore it and let nature run its course (which is what most people will do).

Many of you won't have a choice since you work for large employers who won't touch this with a ten foot goal pole.  As for me, with my Midwestern roots, I am pulling for the balanced Kansas Jayhawks to make a run.  I wouldn't bet on it though, especially using company resources....

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