Office betting pools may seem like harmless fun, but as March Madness approaches, studies show the apparent danger of office-sponsored gambling. According to Isabelle Duguay of Bensinger DuPont & Associates, the danger is in employees who have never gambled before and get hooked.

“Harmless March Madness office pools are often catalysts for some people to start betting because they get a taste of the world of gambling. Many of these individuals will become addicted to the action, the thrill of winning and, eventually, may become problem gamblers.”

Although the actual impact March Madness has on gambling addiction is hard to pinpoint — the NCAA estimates 10 percent of Americans participate in office pools, while estimates a much higher 57 percent of workers join in — calls to Bensinger, DuPont & Associates’ gambling help lines have increased over the last two years, from 9 percent to 25 percent. And according to the company, statistically, the help lines will receive more calls in March and April.