'Win an Inn' essayists say contest was stacked against them; state police are investigating

Maine State Police are investigating whether an innkeeper violated state law in an essay contest with her 210-year-old country inn as the prize.

Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland said Monday an investigation was opened into whether the "Win an Inn" contest violated laws governing games of chance.

The Boston Globe reported Monday that some contest losers felt the odds were stacked against them. They contend Center Lovell Inn owner Janice Sage marketed the contest to "dreamers" but instead awarded the prize to a couple with hospitality business experience in the Virgin Islands.

Sage didn't immediately return a request for comment.

The entry fee was $125. Sage told the Globe she received fewer than the 7,500 entries she sought, but it was still enough to fund her retirement.