"Internet Sweepstakes: Online Gambling or Harmless Promotion?"
Sweepstakes arrive on Internet!
Sweepstakes games have arrived on the Internet just like all other forms
of online gambling. And the popularity of these gambling sites is meteoric.
Internet gambling is illegal in the U.S. and there are those who argue that
online sweepstakes are just another form of online gambling. A case in point
is the state of Wyoming, which is split on whether sweepstakes should be legal.
Wyoming is presently one of only eight states offering online sweepstakes games,
but Wyoming’s Attorney General believes it is just another form of gambling
and, therefore, illegal and should not be permitted.
The sweepstakes games are offered by phone card companies as a promotional
gimmick to enhance sales of phone cards. These companies offer customers the
chance to play sweepstakes games whenever they purchase an Internet combo package
at an Internet café. The package includes a phone card, Internet time
and sweepstakes points.
The sweepstakes games themselves are very similar to the games offered at
online gambling sites. Sweepstakes operators, however, are quick to try and
differentiate their games from regular gambling activities.
The points that the phone card company gives can only be used to play sweepstakes
games at the cafe in which they were purchased and are not redeemable for cash.
Additional sweepstakes points earned are redeemable for cash or prizes. This
is why Wyoming’s Attorney General believes that playing sweepstakes is
basically a gambling activity.
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