March Madness started today in the US as 65 college basketball teams vie for the National Championship in a single elimination tournament. Many Americans participate in office pools to see who can guess the most winners in the 63 games that will be played during the next few weeks. I put an entry in the Facebook pool for a chance to win $25,000 (a very small minuscule chance!!) When I looked today to see what the 1st prize was, I found an unusual requirement in the rules. It says,

Canadian participants must also correctly answer a mathematical skill-testing
question, without human or mechanical assistance and within a specified time
limit, before being declared a prizewinner.

A little investigation led me to this Wiki Page. It explains that “the Canadian Criminal Code bans for-profit gaming or betting,” but “the law does allow prizes to be given for games of skill, or mixed games of skill and chance. In order to make the chance-based contests legal, such games generally have mathematical skill-testing questions incorporated.”

The Canadian government is smart enough to realize, though, that groups may attempt to circumvent the skill test by asking ridiculously simple “skill” questions like, “What is 1 + 1?” A Canadian court ruling assures the skill test will not become a joke by requiring that any skill question “contain at least three operations to actually be skill testing; for example, a common question might be “(2 × 4) + (10 × 3)” (Answer: 38).” Interestingly, “getting the answer wrong is also often not an obstacle to claiming a prize.”

The Facebook rule is in place to keep the contest legal in Canada. Clearly Canadians are better protected from the dangers of contests than we are in the US!

Know any other bizarre government regulations and the creative ways they are circumvented? Post them here.

Advertisements