France has amended its laws regarding lotteries used in connection with promotions – or sweepstakes – to conform to the 2005 EC directive on the subject. Previously, France required that such sweepstakes be free and incur absolutely no expense to the participants. With the new revisions, a sweepstakes may now imply a purchase and the strict requirement that such promotions be entirely separate from any charge to consumers has been abrogated. Other previous constraints have also been lifted, including the prior requirement that the official rules had to be deposited with a bailiff and mailed for free to any consumer making such a request. Sweepstakes still cannot be “unfair” within the meaning of the EC directive, defined as practices contrary to the requirements of professional diligence, or practices that materially distort or are likely to materially distort a reasonably well-informed, observant, average consumer’s economic behavior with regard to a product or a service.

Tip: Operation of sweepstakes in France should be simpler with the revision of local laws to comply with the existing EC directive. The relaxed requirements with respect to a sweepstakes’ connection to a product purchase move France in line with most other EU countries.