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Unlike a sweepstakes, a lottery is a promotional device by which items of value (prizes) are awarded to members of the public by chance—but some form of payment is required to participate. Lotteries are illegal, except when conducted by states and certain exempt charitable organizations. If you believe you have received a solicitation characterized as a sweepstakes that is in fact an illegal lottery, you should contact your local Post Office or state Attorney General’s consumer protection office.

In Texas, lotteries are generally illegal unless they are conducted by the state or authorized charitable organizations. The Texas Lottery, established by the state government, is a legal form of lottery. Charitable organizations can also conduct lotteries if they comply with the Charitable Raffle Enabling Act, which sets forth specific conditions under which these raffles can be held. Any other form of lottery, which requires a form of payment to participate and distributes prizes by chance, is prohibited. If an individual in Texas encounters what appears to be an illegal lottery disguised as a sweepstakes, they should report it to the Texas Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division or the local Post Office. The Attorney General's office is responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws and can take action against illegal gambling operations.

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