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Gambling Restrictions Prevent University Of Iowa From Providing Free Education

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A few days ago, news broke that the University of Iowa would give away free tuition to five lucky students who purchase season tickets for the 2014-15 football season. The plan was that students would automatically be entered into a raffle once tickets were purchased and 11 total winners would be picked, five of whom would receive free tuition for the upcoming school year.

The university has since suspended the promotion. Turns out there’s some legality issues with the raffle.

From The Iowa City Press Citizen:

David Werning, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, said Wednesday that the promotion raised “a lot of issues.” Werning said the university has a license to hold gambling contests as a “social and charitable” organization. However, it must abide by laws regulating raffles, he said.For one thing, state law says charitable raffle tickets may only be bought with cash, Werning said. They may not be purchased with credit cards.

The UI contest announcement encouraged students to buy their season tickets online. Werning said his agency would ask the university how that squared with the cash-only rule for raffles. State law also says that all tickets for a charitable raffle must be the same price. The Hawkeye contest appeared to give students an option of spending $150 or $175, depending on whether they wanted six or seven games to be included in their package, Werning said.

It’s honestly a shame, because that lottery was the only potential win Iowa students could get excited about. Seriously, have you seen the cupcake of a schedule the Hawkeyes have in front of them? They don’t play anyone until Wisconsin and that’s in late November. But that’s the Big Ten for you.

All jokes aside, due to nonsensical and out-of-date gambling laws, this promotion was over before it even started.

[via The Iowa City Press Citizen]

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Dan Regester

Dan Regester @Dan_Regester is a Senior Writer, Podcast Host, and Video Guy for Grandex Media. He's Delco trash to the core and a UCF cinema studies graduate because he never got around to applying to an actual film school. Dan is a gambling man, crypto investor, and procrastinator. He enjoys long walks to the water fountain between bench press sets and is not a fan of the homeless, the elderly, or the Phoenix Airport. Email tips to

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