Is It Legal To Create Your Own Free Lottery?

Say you don’t even charge people money for it – is it legal to create your own lottery? Is this allowed?
I ask because I work at a store that offers a free rewards program, it works sort of like air miles. After you spend a certain amount of money, you get to a “reward” level, and you’re able to redeem it for a discount towards a purchase.
But they also have special promotions from time to time that are like a lottery. For example, if you spend $10 or more in a purchase, you get a chance to win a car. I was reading the fine print of these promotion cards when I was bored at work, and there is apparently a way to get free entries, otherwise it would be considered a lottery, which is apparently illegal where I live.
I’ve heard of this in other places – Monopoly McDonalds for example, where you can potentially win $1,000,000, has a no purchase necessary clause, where if you send in a hand written letter, they give you a free “board piece”. Usually the cost of the stamp or a person’s time doesn’t make it worth it, which is how the effectively prevent a lot of people from getting free things.
So… my question… When places create lottery-like programs to attract costumers, does it have to get approved or something? Or are you allowed to do it as long as you aren’t charging people and/or have a way for them to play without making a purchase (whether in the form of a ticket or a Big Mac)?

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One Response to “Is It Legal To Create Your Own Free Lottery?”

  1. Justin says:

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