While it’s easy to get swept up in the fun of guessing which teams will make a run to the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four, WSU employees must abide by state ethics rules about how they spend their working hours.
Under state law, state employees are not allowed to use state time and resources to benefit themselves financially. State employees are not forbidden from participating in sports betting pools so long as they follow the law, and must do so on their own time and without using WSU resources such as e-mail and the network.
Even March Madness bracket contests where no money is at stake shouldn’t be undertaken while employees are on the clock.
The Washington State Executive Ethics Board has ruled that gambling, including sports pools, are a private activity that is incompatible with official state duties. The board further stated that even an occasional or limited use of state facilities to gamble undermines public confidence in state government.
Additional guidance on sports gambling within the state of Washington is available online from the Washington State Gambling Commission.
Any employees with questions are asked to contact Sherry Gordon, WSU’s ethics compliance advisor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.