Ask a Lawyer and Get Answers to Your Legal Questions
It's illegal to hold a lottery to sell a house, even though with the financial crisis it might seem like a good option. A housing lottery is considered an unlawful promotion of gambling. Under the NJ statutes, "Lottery" means an unlawful gambling scheme in which (a) the players pay or agree to pay something of value for chances, represented and differentiated by numbers or by combinations of numbers or by some other media, one or more of which chances are to be designated the winning ones; and (b) the winning chances are to be determined by a drawing or by some other method based upon the element of chance; and (c) the holders of the winning chances are to receive something of value. Please click ACCEPT so I know you got my answer and so I can get credit for helping you. We can continue our conversation after this at no additional charge. Thanks!
Your email address was redacted as we are unable to view any personal information. I will be happy to continue to help you here, however. There is no way to usurp the NJ statutes regarding a housing lottery. This would constitute fraud and is further punishable under the law. For one, housing lotteries are illegal in almost every state and are only subject to a couple of exceptions--like if the house is being auctioned for charity or if the profits would go to a non-profit corporation. Even if you could set up a website in another state where the lottery was legal, the house is still located in NJ and so you are subject to the laws of that state. I know how bad the housing market is right now, and this sure is tempting, but I would hate for this to come back to haunt you. I just heard recently of a woman who was arrested after she had sold a bunch of tickets but before her house was given away. She was fined $200/ticket and ended up in much worse shape than she was in before.
You're very welcome. I know it is not what you wanted to hear, but I wouldn't be doing you any favors by giving you an incorrect statement of the law. Thanks for recognizing that. I wish you the very best--and good luck selling that house!