First, it helps to understand the difference between a sweepstakes, contest and lottery. In a sweepstakes, winners are chosen randomly from all participants. In a contest, the winners’ entries are usually judged and are based on a skill or criteria. In a lottery, winners are chosen at random, but in order to enter, the participant must pay. A payment is called a consideration. Only states can hold lotteries, so all private lotteries are illegal.
To avoid being classified as an illegal lottery in any state, your promotion can only have 2 of these 3 elements: prize, chance and consideration. Keep in mind, consideration can mean anything of value, including a fee or even a significant effort (i.e., time spent shooting/submitting a photo, etc.)
Besides federal considerations, every state has its own specifics laws regarding sweepstakes and contests.
It may be difficult to have a contest recognized as such in Montana since the state recognizes 'any chance' in a promotion. Remember, a contest or sweepstakes can only have 2 of these 3 elements: prize, chance and/or consideration. Contests generally have prize and consideration (time and effort to submit an entry that will be judged based on skill). Most skill games have an element of chance, however, and courts here look at any chance that affects the outcome.
Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.
Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.
Prize Promotion Laws- Montana- Raffles
Montana Cannabis or Marijuana Sweepstakes or Contest Laws
Prize Promotion Laws- Montana Telemarketing Registration and Fraud Prevention Act
Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.
Note: the information above is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Sweepstakes and Contest promotional laws change and the above may not reflect the must current laws.