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Understanding lotteries and bets in Minnesota

Have you ever made a casual bet with friends over a football or card game? Have you ever purchased a lottery ticket? If you have done things like this in Minnesota, you are likely enjoying some innocent fun and not breaking any laws. However, there are forms of gambling that are deemed illegal in the state and understand what can be legal and what can be illegal is important for all residents.

According to the Office of the Revisor of Statutes, a lottery is legal in Minnesota. How does the state define a lottery? It is characterized by a game in which participants may win by chance rather than skill. Awards may be random and may be in the form of money, property or some other reward. A bet, in contrast may well include some element of chance but also includes an element of skill on the part of anyone participating.

In-package chance promotions may resemble a lottery but there are rules governing these and separating the two. One thing that may distinguish a promotion from a lottery is free play. A lottery generally involves a fee to play whereas a promotion may require no payment or purchase at all. Advertisement and record collection on the part of a sponsor may also identify a promotion instead of a lottery.

If you would like to learn more about gambling laws and what the state considers legal and illegal betting, please feel free to visit the gambling crime page of our Minnesota criminal defense website.

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