Sweepstakes Law and Sweepstakes Lawyers
Trying to understand the complexities of sweepstakes law can be a daunting task for any layperson – which makes retaining an experienced sweepstakes attorney a prudent decision for any business that chooses to employ this unique and effective marketing tool. Sweepstakes contests are heavily regulated on a state-by-state (and country-by-country) basis due, in large part, to the potential for a sweepstakes to be construed as an illegal lottery or other form of illegal gambling. Qualified sweepstakes lawyers can help navigate the legal framework and ensure that businesses avoid running afoul of applicable laws.
Are Sweepstakes Lawyers Really Necessary?
The U.S., Canada and individual states have specific laws governing sweepstakes contests, depending on where the potential entrant lives, which makes a sweepstakes lawyer’s job that much harder. For example, applicable state laws may permit sponsors to utilize pay-to-play options, but the sponsors must offer an alternative free means of entry in order to avoid violating existing lottery laws. Further, across all jurisdictions, it is essential that sweepstakes operators retain the services of an independent third party to conduct prize drawings in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety that could give rise to legal challenges.
When companies are deciding to run a sweepstakes promotion, they must not only comply with local, state and federal sweepstakes laws, but must also account for general entrant fraud. In the age of digital marketing, most sweepstakes are run online, where the potential for fraud in terms of multiple and/or duplicative entries is exponentially greater.
Above all, businesses must make certain that they have published legally compliant contest rules that expressly and clearly set forth the terms governing the eligibility of sweepstakes contestants, the number of entries permitted, the prizes involved (and the manner in which they are awarded), the duration of the applicable sweepstakes contest and more.
Sweepstakes Lawyers Can Help You Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Sweepstakes law can be confusing, and fraught with considerable risk, if you are not well-versed in the various laws that apply. While the regulations applicable to the marketing and operation of sweepstakes contests are complex and nuanced, with the proper planning and knowledgeable legal guidance from experienced sweepstakes lawyers, these games can be valuable marketing tools.
Please note that this is only a brief overview of some of the legal issues surrounding sweepstakes and other promotional contests and, as such, please remember to obtain guidance from an experienced sweepstakes lawyer prior to conducting a promotional game or sweepstakes.