The State of Florida recently revised its games of chance law in an attempt to clarify certain provisions to avoid abuse of the law. For brands and their agencies conducting games to promote their products/services, the revisions clarify that the law is intended to only permit games of chance run by commercial entities on a “limited and occasional basis” as a marketing tool incidental to the sale of a product or service. We do not believe that the change in the law requires a set time between promotions (although it may prohibit continuous and indefinite promotions). Rather, the law only clarified that games must be “incidental to the sale” of a product or service, such that consideration should not be paid primarily for the chance to win a prize. The revisions further clarify that the law governs retailers who operate game promotions on a local basis, as well as anyone who conducts a game of chance in both Florida and any other state. Penalties for violation of the law remain the same, but the law clarifies that a violation constitutes an unfair trade practice.
A separate section of the law was also revised to restrict those conducting quasi-gambling at retail establishments in Florida. Accordingly, the law heavily restricts those who offer or operate devices within retail locations where consumers may play games of chance or skill for the chance to win a prize. The law was broadened to regulate devices which are operated via a “code”, but the law does not seem intended to restrict otherwise permissible games of chance conducted by brands to promote a product/service where consumers input a code in their own personal computer or mobile device.
TIP: While Florida has clarified its laws pertaining to games of chance, we do not believe that traditional games of chance run by legitimate brands have been measurably affected. Those operating chance or skill games via their own machines at a retail premise should carefully review their practices.