Let me first put out this diclaimer, that I’m not dissing Oprah, she probably has surveillance systems capable of finding anyone who says anything against her and with the push of a button could order an airstrike on your ass, so let me make that clear Oprah, in case your watching.
That said, how is it that Oprah is able to run her own sweepstakes? I ask only because of the countless people being arrested in the United States for running their own sweepstakes which were classified as illegal gambling. Case in point, the Virgina beach raids on sweepstake gambling in September, and then there was the sweepstakes owner that was arrested accused of running an illegal gambling operation, and countless other operations have been shut down.
Then Oprah comes along and offers her sweepstakes where to enter, all one has to do is purchase a copy of the December O Magazine and look in the magazine and online for 12 holiday-themed icons each icon will have a secret code to enter on the website. Players can enter the code and be entered into the drawing. Like most contests of this type, the message is the more you enter, the better the chances of winning. Twelve people will win each and every gift listed in the O Magazine O List Holiday Ediition. Some of the prizes feature gifts such as Oprah’s snuggly pajamas, Dr Oz’s choice of Saucony ProGrid Kinvara sneakers and Dr. Phil’s selection of a Mino HD Flipcam.
Great gifts if your into that type of fluff. But the point is Oprah’s sweepstakes aren’t all that different from the sweepstake police are raiding. It begs the question, what is illegal sweepstakes and what isn’t?
Generally, illegal sweepstakes that have been targeted by police raids are said to have three elements. Prizes, money exchanged and the winners are decided by chance, not skill. Additionally, there is an element for legitamate sweepstakes that the more you purchase should not increase your chances of winning. More specifically, while sweepstakes promotions are generally permitted in most states, lotteries are not. Unlike lotteries, legit “sweepstakes” promotions do not require the participants to pay anything for the chance to win. As such, any promotion that conditions the chance to win on subscribing for a service, purchasing a product or, in some states, visiting a physical store, may be deemed an illegal lottery.
I know Oprah is probably above the law, if she doesn’t own the law, but again, all I’m saying here is where is the criteria for what is illegal sweepstakes? And if that line is as clear as a glass of milk how can raids on sweepstakes parlors be justified?
I wonder if Oprah could start her own online casino and skate away with it. She could hire Dr. Phil to counsel any problem gamblers and tell them how it’s all their fault, and she could have life dealers that talk to players about their feelings and emotions, and good books they’ve read. I could see it.