IMGL Magazine April 2022

Consumer protection

Social media lotteries: how state legislatures can and should end abuses A person wishing to make money through gambling can attempt to secure a casino or other license by meeting financial and background suitability lottery in which, for US$35, “everyone” wins a car. In truth, most participants only get a 1/64 scale die-cast model that is likely worth much less than $35, while a few participants win an actual vehicle. This advertisement is unambiguously a ploy to generate significant returns by raffling rare Anthony Cabot argues that influencer promoted social media lotteries are legally questionable at best and should be easy to eradicate if regulators took the protection of their citizens seriously.

requirements and complying with stringent operational regulations. An alternative is to become a social media “influencer” and simply run lotteries on social media platforms. Based on the lack of legislation or enforcement, impacted state governments and the gaming industry seem fine with this situation. I spend more time on Facebook than a person ought, which arguably should be naught. Still, I use social media networks to communicate with my friends and family. Facebook has algorithms that track the ads you click on and then steadily feed you related items. I clicked on an advertisement by a well-known web personality promoting a

automobiles. I was curious whether the promotion was legal, so I clicked on the ad and searched through its linked pages. Now I get an endless stream of lottery ads. After reviewing, most are of, at best, questionable legality. United States lottery laws are primarily set at the state level. Although these laws vary, most states determined that illegal lotteries occur when a person pays consideration for the opportunity to win a prize based on chance. Therefore, a promotion that charges US$35 to have a chance to win a real car is a lottery, right? Not quite. States provide an exception

IMGL Magazine • April 2022 • 35

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