Basketball Brackets and Alcohol Can’t Mix

It’s that time of year again, basketball fans!

Please note the following NCAA Bracket Contest Update from the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which does not allow these contests on premises licensed to sell alcohol.  

NCAA BRACKET CONTEST:  The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is very popular in Kentucky. This popularity results in contests in which employees or patrons attempt to pick the champion or the most winning teams in NCAA bracket sheets, or randomly draw team names.

KRS 243.500(6) provides that an alcoholic beverage license may be revoked or suspended for “setting up, conducting, operating, or keeping on the licensed premises, any gambling game, device, machine, contrivance, lottery, gift enterprise, handbook, or facility for betting or transmitting bets on horse races; or permitting to be set up, conducted, operated, kept or engaged in, on the licensed premises, any such game, device, machine, contrivance, lottery, gift enterprise, handbook or facility.” (emphasis added). KRS 528.010(4)(a) defines “gambling” to mean “staking or risking something of value [wager] upon the outcome of a contest, game, gaming scheme, or gaming device which is based upon an element of chance, in accord with an agreement or understanding that someone will receive something of value [prize] in the event of a certain outcome.”

Because picking winning teams involves an element of chance, illegal gambling occurs whenever people wager money (pay to play) and the winners receive a prize or money payout.