Community Events

ELSA Attorneys Organize, Participate in FREE Sun Prairie Legal Clinic

Free Legal Clinic Starts Tuesday

If you live in the Sun Prairie area and have legal questions, there is now another local resource available.  The Sunshine Supper Legal Clinic will open its doors tonight, September 16, 2014, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Sunshine Supper (1632 West Main Street, Sun Prairie), to answer your legal questions free of charge.

ELSA Attorneys will be on hand to answer your questions regarding various fields of law, including employment law, family law, immigration law, and landlord-tenant issues.  Individuals whose questions are not fully resolved will be referred to outside resources, including the State Bar’s Lawyer Referral & Information Service, Community Justice, Inc., Legal Action of Wisconsin or the State Public Defender’s Office.

The clinic is the result of months of hard work by ELSA attorney and shareholder Joshua J. Kindkeppel, as detailed in this article from The Star, as well as ELSA attorneys Kathleen Curran and Kevin Henry, and other local practitioners.

Attorney Kindkeppel practices in the areas of business, real estate, employment, and civil litigation.  He was elected and served as president of the Dane County Bar Association in 2012-13, and collaborated with long-time Madison attorney Joseph Melli to create the Joseph A. Melli Mentorship Program to assist young Dane County attorneys. Kindkeppel is also active in the Sun Prairie Rotary Club, and serves on the planning committee for the Sun Prairie Kindness Retreats.

Attorney Curran practices in the areas of family law, estate planning, civil litigation, employment law, and personal injury.

If you cannot make it to tonight’s clinic, it will return on October 21, 2014, and on the third Tuesday of each following month.

Is Your Office Bracket Pool Legal?

This is one of my favorite days of the year.  In addition to the green beer that is flowing, sports fans (and non-sports fans) get to spend an inordinate amount of time completing NCAA basketball tournament brackets in hopes of besting their friends, colleagues and often complete strangers.  The range of bracket pools varies nearly as much as the participants, from high-stakes pools involving fanatics with big money on the line, to office pools competing purely for bragging rights.

It seems like everyone completes a bracket.  But have you ever wondered if your bracket pool is legal?

According to this article on Forbes.com, free-to-enter pools are generally legal, but pay-to-enter pools are not.  As the article details, pay-to-enter pools may run afoul of at least three federal laws, and may be illegal in some states.  What about Wisconsin?

The answer comes down to whether your bracket entry is a “bet” and your pool is a “lottery.”

By statute, anyone who “makes a bet” is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.[1]  Wis. Stat. § 945.01(1) defines a “bet” as “a bargain in which the parties agree that, dependent upon chance even though accompanied by some skill, one stands to win or lose something of value specified in the agreement.”  There are several exceptions from this definition (actual business transactions, prizes to actual competitors, etc.), unfortunately, they do not appear to exclude bracket pools.  Thus, the ability to win or lose “something of value” determines whether your bracket entry is a “bet.”  If you can win or lose money, it is a bet.  If it is for office bragging rights, it may not be (a very lawyerly answer, I know).

“A lottery is an enterprise wherein for a consideration the participants are given an opportunity to win a prize, the award of which is determined by chance, even though accompanied by some skill.”  Wis. Stat. § 945.01(5)(a).[2]  There is at least a strong argument that success in bracket pools is determined by chance.  (Do you think Warren Buffet would be putting $1 Billion if the odds for winning were better than 1 in 9 quintillion?  How many times has your friend who picked based on uniform colors won?)  Similar to the “bet” discussion above, if money is required to enter the bracket pool, and if the winner receives a prize (usually money), the bracket pool is a lottery.

Now what about those trusted friends or colleagues who take time from their busy schedules to run your bracket pool?  These pool administrators may be engaging in “commercial gambling” and guilty of a Class I felony[3] if they do any of the following:

  • For gain, operating a bracket pool;
  • For gain, becoming a custodian (holding) of entry fees or records;
  • For gain, setting up an online pool; or
  • Conducting a lottery where the entry and prize is money.

As you would suspect with laws regulating gambling, it appears that money is the principal issue in determining whether your bracket pool is illegal gambling.

Thus, while money makes many things more exciting, if you are going to engage in a bracket pool, it may be better to put the checkbook away and stick to bragging rights.


[1] The maximum penalty for a Class B misdemeanor is $1,000 and 90 days imprisonment.

[2] As an aside, a lottery does not include bingo or certain raffle contests.  Good job Lutheran churches!

[3] The maximum penalty for a Class I felony is $10,000 and 3 years and 6 months imprisonment. Yikes!

Sun Prairie’s Sunshine Supper $5 Family Challenge

For the past three years, the Sun Prairie community has been hosting the Sunshine Supper, which is a free, nutritious dinner open to the public every Monday evening.  The dinner is sponsored and coordinated by a dedicated bunch of volunteers with the assistance of various community groups within Sun Prairie.  Throughout its three year history, the Sunshine Supper has moved from place to place but for a number of reasons has never been able to establish a permanent home . . . until now.

In May 2013, the Sunshine Supper hopes to move into its new, permanent, location in Sunshine Place at 1632 West Main Street.  In order to support its move and help open its doors, the Sunshine Supper is putting on the $5 Family Challenge.  Due to a generous dollar-for-dollar match donation, all donations to the “Open the Doors Campaign” will be doubled, and the Sunshine Supper is encouraging families to make a donation in the amount of $5 or more in order to maximize the dollar-for-dollar match.

It is very easy to participate:

1.  Send your $5 (or more) to Sunshine Place, $5 Family Challenge, 18 Rickel Road, Sun Prairie, WI  53590 or donate online.

2.  Print this challenge sign.

3.  Get a photo of your family with this sign and post it on the Sunshine Supper facebook page.

4.  Post your sign in your front window so that all your friends and neighbors can see that you participated in the challenge.

For more information or to donate online, visit the Sunshine Supper website at http://sunshinesupper.org/..