MOUNTAINAIR, N.M. (KRQE) – Betting for cash on the Super Bowl is pretty common, but it’s illegal. Now, a middle school teacher is being investigated for selling squares in a Super Bowl pool.
Leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, there are some football fans that have a stake in the score. However, betting for cash is against state law.
“I did not know that it was illegal,” said Ermelinda Torres, student at Mountainair High School.
A concerned parent in Mountainair southeast of Belen, brought a Super Bowl pool to KRQE News 13’s attention. One of the people selling squares at $20 a pop, is a sixth grade teacher at Mountainair Junior High.
“I didn’t know this was going around, especially one of my teachers, especially this teacher, she’s an excellent teacher,” said Eliza Romero, Principal of Mountainair Middle and High School.
The school is now investigating whether gambling was done on school property, and whether bets were offered to students.
The school Superintendent didn’t want to go on camera, but he did tell KRQE News 13 that gambling is against school board policy, and if the teacher was selling squares at school, there will be disciplinary consequences.
The Superintendent said the teacher selling the squares was helping out a friend with the pool, and from what he’s learned so far, she wasn’t gambling in school.
He did point out, there are some school employee names on the Super Bowl bet list.
“They should have just stopped it right off the bat,” said one Mountainair resident. KRQE News 13 also spoke with someone who was approached to participate outside of school.
The person doesn’t want to be identified, but they said, a teacher should know better than to promote gambling. “Because her job is to educate, not teach our kids what not to do.”
KRQE News 13 called the number on the pool to hear the teacher’s side of the story, but didn’t hear back.
School officials said they’ll handle the situation internally.
“I do know it’s illegal, but I do also know it happens for Super Bowl, it’s the thing to do apparently,” said Romero. “It’s disappointing, but I mean stuff happens, and I am aware teachers are human too.”
State agents investigate similar Super Bowl pools. According to state law, this type of Super Bowl gambling done at home is a misdemeanor, or fourth degree felony if the gambling takes place at a liquor establishment.
Mountainair’s Superintendent told KRQE News 13 he’s called people he recognized from the pool, and they all insist they were not sold bets on school property.