Betting on March Madness

The NCAA tournament is underway. The games and gambling started Thursday. The FBI estimates basketball fans will wager more than $2.5 billion in illegal bets and the NCAA predicts more then 10 percent will participate in office pools.

But whether or not money is involved, it's the excitement of picking the right team that has fans participating.

"We immediately got on the ball with getting the brackets going," Donnie Roberts, the general manager at Ozona Grill and Bar said.

Roberts said the Big Dance could not have come sooner at the College Station restaurant.

For three years Ozona has offered a bracket challenge for its employees and regulars.

"Everybody kind of pitches in and does their own deal and chooses their teams so it's fun," Roberts said.

And Ozona isn't the only establishment following the games. NCAA tournament brackets have become a big deal.

"If you pick the right team it means sometimes you can win a little bit of money," Todd Williams, a College Station resident said. "It gets a little exciting if you can pick an upset."

And a lot of game following is done at work. There's an estimated 23 million working college basketball fans with internet access.

CBS SportsLine.com is even offering the games online. The website has a way for employees to avoid getting fired with a "boss button". Click on it, and a mock spreadsheet pops up to make the boss think you're actually working.

News Three is offering sports fans the Nothing But Net Bracket Challenge at KBTX.com where you can test your picks against others.
It's free to play and you can win prizes.

A workplace consulting firm estimates March Madness will cost companies at least $1 billion in lost productivity. And six percent of companies will actually block tournament websites at work. But at Ozona it's all about the games.

"It keeps you tuned into all the games," Roberts said. "You want to watch every single game no matter who the team is because of whoever you've picked to win."

No money is involved in the Ozona bracket challenge, just bragging rights for whoever comes out on top.


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