Couple Offers Home as Prize in $100 Essay Contest

A White Rock couple has this proposal: Write a 500-word essay and you could win their home.

But the Gaming Control Board says the contest that has a $100 entry fee might not be legal under state law.

If someone is truly raffling off their home, it would be illegal under the Bingo and Raffle Act because it's not being done by a qualified nonprofit organization, said Gaming Control Board deputy director Greg Saunders.

However, if the essay contest is deemed "a game of skill," he said the Tiffany and Todd Lovell are in the clear.

"We haven't made that determination yet," he said.

The Lovells said the depressed housing market has caused them to try to move their 1,200-square-foot, three-bedroom, one-bathroom home through an essay contest. They are hoping to get at least 2,500 entries, which would mean they'll make $250,000. The Lovells say the entries will be judged by "various members of the Los Alamos County community."

The Lovells say if they receive fewer than 2,500 entries, they'll cancel the contest and return the entry fees.

The Gaming Control Board is expected to make a determination within the week.