NCAA Office Pools: Is this Gambling?
Is it legal to participate in an office March Madness bracket tournament? Or bet on the games amongst friends?
In Utah, gambling is illegal, so you need to determine whether your actions are legal or illegal under Utah law. Gambling and the types of convictions possible for this crime are discussed in the Utah Code at 76-10-1101 and 76-10-1102 (note that 76-10-1101 is superseded by a new version of this section on 4/1/2010).
In 2008, the Utah Attorney General's Office spoke out against betting on basketball: "If you're betting $20, a can of peas, or if you're betting $10,000, you're still risking something of value and it still could be a crime under the law" (via KSL).
At the federal level, the Department of Justice and United State Attorneys are tasked with enforcing federal anti-gambling laws, such as the Wire Wager Act. For example, see this 2001 article written by an assistant US Attorney: "Gambling Against Enforcement — Internet Sports Books and the Wire Wager Act"