Betting on the NCAA Tournament is a time-honored tradition (unless sports betting is illegal in your jurisdiction, in which case you have never done such a thing). Time-honored or not, though, cross a certain line with your March Madness gambling and you’ll wind up in trouble. Just ask Rick Neuheisel, who wound up out of a job at Washington when his participation in a betting pool was revealed.
And now, you can also ask… anyone who used PayPal to do their NCAA tourney betting, apparently. PayPal forbids users from using its services for such purposes via its user agreement (i.e. this thing, which you probably never read even if you signed up), so they sent this to everyone they suspected of the illicit payments:
“After a recent review of your account activity, it has been determined that you are in violation of PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy regarding your sales / offers of March Madness sports pool.”
PayPal isn’t shutting down these accounts; it’s just “limiting” them, and users can regain full account privileges by following the PayPal email’s instructions. According to Bloomberg, PayPal declined to elaborate on how they identify these suspicious accounts, and there is a Big Brotherish feel to it.
But PayPal said all they’re doing is “follow[ing] all the legal and regulatory rules in the U.S. as it relates to gambling,” and we know what the U.S. government thinks of online gambling. And since PayPal specified the “no sports betting” thing in its Acceptable Use Policy, it’s not their problem that no one actually reads the endless pile of convoluted legalese that is the user agreement. And with that in mind, we’d say the moral of the story here is to NEVER GAMBLE EVER, because it is a SINFUL VICE ILLEGAL IN MANY CONTEXTS. But failing that, you’ll probably just want to limit your March Madness pool outlays to physical cash.