In Casper, every day patrons enter a nearby Internet cafe to log-on to the cafe’s computers for chances to win sweepstakes by playing many different types of online casino games.
Basically, the players are using phone cards that have sweepstakes points on them and they are using the points to win actual money. All this is done using the computers that are rented at the cafe.
This sounds easy enough, but the state attorney general deems it to actually be illegal, and a nearby prosecutor for the state is asking questions. Operators of the cafe contend that it is totally legal. They feel that it is a genuine promotion plan. The operators also feel that the campaign is really not much different than the popular instant-win twist-off caps you see on soda bottles all over the country. The company holding the campaign states that it’s just trying to excel sales of their legal products which are phone cards and Internet time.
As it stands, Wyoming is one of 8 states in the US where these sweepstakes are played. The other 7 states are South Carolina, Florida, Texas, California, Alabama, Hawaii and Massachusetts. 2 other states in line to start these sweepstakes are Utah and Arizona. The games are yet another vague area in the on-going free-for-all over what illegal gambling really is.
The sweepstakes work like this, customers can either buy Internet time only, or a combo deal that includes both Internet access and a phone card. For example, 5 bucks gets you a 100-minute phone card, 1 hour of Internet access and 100 sweepstakes points. Customers can only use the points to play games on the computers at the actual cafe. Points that the customers win playing the casino games can be turned-in for additional more long-distance minutes or cash. Because the games are free to play, the gray area presents itself.
Ill. Senate Gives Go-ahead to New Program for Internet Lottery Sales
If everything goes to plan, Illinois gamblers would be able to purchase their lottery tickets from a computer. Today, the Illinois Senate approved the bill to develop the new pilot program.
The bill, brought to light by Sen. John Cullerton, a Democrat, is set to pilot a new program to experiment with online lottery ticket sales. The Senator believes that Internet lottery ticket sales might possibly fuel as much as $100 million in revenue for the state of Illinois.
The new lottery measure, which passed 32-24 now goes to the House for approval.
As far as opposition to program goes, Republicans fear the measure could generate problem gambling and raise personal debt. This is being pointed out because, online, credit cards would be accepted as a form of payment.