Last year, Connecticut football fans were in nirvana. Giants versus Patriots. In a state where loyalties are divided among those two teams, you couldn’t ask for a better match-up.

This year? Well, let’s just say that many people will need to find some alternative reason to get excited about the matchup.

Which is where office pools come in. 

At many employers, either formally or informally, employees can contribute a small sum (a few bucks up or perhaps $20) to get a box on a 10×10 grid, which corresponds with the last digit of the football score for each team (0-9). Get a box that matches the score at the end of a quarter or game, and you might will a few hundred bucks. 

(And office pool "experts" will tell you that numbers like 0, 3 and 7 are decent draws, while 2, 5 and 9 are remote possibilities). 

But for employers, this raises an interesting question — are office pools legal?

Well, last year, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal chimed in near game time to say, in essence, yes office pools are legal, so long as the "house" (or the employer sponsoring it) doesn’t take a portion of the money.  An article in the Norwich Bulletin, quotes Blumenthal as saying: “Office pools are generally legal unless they’re done for a profit by the person organizing it.  In other words, if there’s a house, so to speak, or an organizer takes a cut (then it’s illegal).”

The actual law is a bit hazier as I explained in a fairly detailed post last year (available here). But since it is pretty clear that the state’s top enforcement official has no interest in prosecuting office pools, there doesn’t seem to be much harm in jumping in.

Just hope you don’t get the dreaded 5-5 combination.