Warren Buffett Bets $1 Billion on March Madness

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This post comes from Nancy Dunham.  

This year’s March Madness just got a whole lot, well, “madder” now that Warren Buffett has jumped into the action.

Nope, Buffett, the world’s fourth richest person, according to Forbes, isn’t taking the court during any of the games, but his Berkshire Hathaway company is backing the $1 billion prize Quicken Loans is offering to anyone who correctly predicts the winner of each game of the NCAA’s men’s basketball tournament.

The only catch, and you knew there was one, is that only those who enroll in the Quicken Loans contest are eligible to win. And don’t tell everyone about it, at least until you enter. The free contest is capped at 10 million entrants and only one contestant per household, reports the Detroit Free Press.

But if any entrant does pull off the feat of choosing the winner of each of the 63 games, he or she will receive the payments in 40 annual installments of $25 million or can chose an immediate payment of $500 million, reports CNNMoney. Multiple winners will split the prize.

Even if you enter and just miss the mark, choosing the first 62 winners, you will get VIP treatment, at least according to what Buffett tells CNN:

If there is a contestant who has a chance for the prize when the final game is held on April 7 in Arlington, Texas, [Buffett] plans on attending the game. “I will invite him or her to be my guest at the final game and be there with a check in my pocket, but I will not be cheering for him or her to win,” he said, jokingly. “I may even give them a little investment advice.”

CNN also reports that Quicken will pay the following:

$100,000 prizes to each of the 20 contestants who do the best in the brackets. And it is donating $1 million to inner-city Detroit and Cleveland nonprofit organizations that are dedicated to improving the education of young residents. Buffett said he came up with the idea while getting a tour of Detroit from [Quicken chairman Dan] Gilbert in November and Gilbert quickly signed on to the idea.

Such high-risk gambles aren’t anything new to Buffett, whose companies have previously backed other prizes including a $1 billion prize from Pepsi, reports CNN.

The contest begins March 3, according to Quicken Loans.

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