Are Football Squares Illegal In New York?
The NFL Football season is less than a week away, school sports are back in action and that means you are getting hit up for some money for team fundraisers.
It could be a friend who is putting together squares or a team mom, and they want to get $10 or $25, or some amount of money per square to help raise money for team jackets, end-of-season awards, or just to have a pizza party during the season.
It could be just a bunch of co-workers trying to make watching the games more interesting or maybe your family does squares during the NFL season to keep in touch with each other and for bragging rights.
But are football squares legal to do in New York State?
First off, what is a Football Square? If you don't know, Football Squares are basically 10 vertical columns and 10 horizontal rows, both numbered from zero to nine. One team (The Bills) gets the columns and the other gets the rows. You get the numbers associated with your square and if the score matches your numbers you win.
Prizes are usually paid out at the end of the 1st quarter, at Halftime, end of the 3rd quarter, and at the end of the game.
So you are thinking, this is gambling right? Pretty much yes, so is it illegal to do in New York now that Sports Gambling is legal? Well, the answer is Yes and No.
It all depends on how you are paying out the squares. If you are paying out all the money that you collect then "Social Gambling" is legal in New York. If you are selling squares and are keeping some of the money for yourself, then technically what you are doing is illegal in New York State.
Now if you are selling squares for a charity or non-profit like my son's soccer club, it is legal in New York State.
Of course, most people are paying out a couple of hundred bucks and New York State's attorney general has bigger fish to fry so you probably won't get in trouble, but you could if someone reports you.
Overall, Football Squares that pay out all the money they collect or if part of the proceeds benefits a non-profit, are legal. So go out and get some squares for a good cause.