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What you need to know about the Approximate Retail Value (ARV) in Sweepstakes and Contests

Dale Joerling July 21, 2016
Sweepstakes_default blog

Many people who enter the sweepstakes (as well as some Sponsors) assume that the winner must pay taxes on the amount of the prize’s ARV. However, that is not correct. READ MORE

Five things you should know before creating a contest

Dale Joerling February 4, 2016

As most readers of this blog know, a contest is quite different than a sweepstakes. Sweepstakes are games of chance. The winners are selected at random and don’t have to have any particular knowledge or skill – just good luck. READ MORE

Is it a game of chance or a game of skill?

Dale Joerling December 1, 2015
Sweepstakes_default blog

As most of the readers of this blog already know, a sweepstakes or contest that contains a prize, consideration, and chance may be found to be an illegal form of gambling in most states. For that reason, it is important to eliminate one of these elements of gambling if you intend to create a legal promotion. READ MORE

FCC’s change to its contest rules not effective for four to six months

Dale Joerling October 20, 2015
Sweepstakes_default blog

As a follow-up to our posting on September 17, 2015, and in response to questions we have received from several of our readers, I wanted to clarify that the Federal Communication Commission’s (“FCC”)_ revision to its contest rules did not go into effect immediately after its September 17 meeting. READ MORE

FCC modernizes broadcast contest rules to support online disclosure

Dale Joerling September 17, 2015

As we anticipated in our most recent posting, the Federal Communication Commission this morning made a substantial change to its Contest Rules. In a press release today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the adoption of new Broadcast Contest Rules “that allow broadcasters to disclose contest rules online as an alternative to broadcasting them over the air.” READ MORE

FCC may be close to allowing broadcasters to disclose contest terms online

Dale Joerling September 1, 2015

The Federal Communication Commission may be on the verge of permitting broadcasters to present sweepstakes and contest rules online, rather than during the on-air description of the promotion. The FCC’s agenda for its open meeting on September 17, 2015, lists as one of the two subjects to be discussed: “Modernizing contest rules. READ MORE

Big sweepstakes scam artists don’t cry

Dale Joerling July 14, 2015

According to the Edmonton Sun newspaper, Nigerian-born Richard Mmah Chukwu, a resident of Edmonton, was recently convicted of implementing a multi-million dollar sweepstakes scam. Chukwu was found guilty in the Canadian Provincial Court in Edmonton of using the mail to defraud and laundering the money received from the scam. READ MORE

Department of Justice penalizes Ironman for illegal sweepstakes

Dale Joerling June 2, 2015

I have never understood why otherwise sane people would want to enter an Ironman triathlon. An Ironman requires you to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and then run a 26.2 marathon, all within 17 hours. READ MORE

Five tips for ‘Mega Sponsors’ of sweepstakes and contests

Dale Joerling April 28, 2015

Over the past 18 years, I have been very fortunate to represent several of what I call “Mega Sponsors” of sweepstakes and contests. My definition of a Mega Sponsor is a company that sponsors more than 50 sweepstakes or contests in a year. READ MORE

Read this before you co-sponsor a sweepstakes or contest

Dale Joerling February 20, 2015

Quite often a company will see an opportunity to team with another company to create a sweepstakes or contest that will benefit both of them individually. For example, a manufacturer of insect repellent and the owner of a fishing resort both target the same customers but are not competitors. READ MORE

FTC obtains $9.5 million judgment against fraudulent sweepstakes operators

Dale Joerling February 16, 2015

On February 11, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it had accepted a $9.5 million settlement in a case brought against a sweepstakes operator for violating a previous FTC order. The settlement also permanently prohibits the defendant, Crystal Ewing, from direct mail marketing. READ MORE

Sweepstakes random drawings: Things a sponsor should know

Dale Joerling January 15, 2015

I am often asked how random drawings should be conducted to select the winners of a sweepstakes. It sounds like a fairly simple request, but like most legal questions, “it depends.” READ MORE

Social media sweepstakes: 10 things you should know

Dale Joerling December 22, 2014

“How did we have sweepstakes before Facebook?” That question, which I heard during a call last week, summarizes the tremendous impact that social media has had on the use of sweepstakes and contests. READ MORE

Sweepstakes bonds 101: An interview with a bond broker

Dale Joerling October 27, 2014
Marcia new

One little-understood aspect of sweepstakes law are surety bonds, which are required to conduct sweepstakes in New York and Florida. For more insight on why sweepstakes sponsors need bonds and how the bonding process works, I turned to Marcia Cesafsky, a highly experienced bond broker who serves as Senior Broker of Specialty Surety for Aon Risk Solutions. READ MORE

7 important lessons from past FCC contest cases

Dale Joerling August 11, 2014
Sweepstakes_default blog

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has brought a number of cases against broadcasters who conduct or advertise a contest on air. These cases range from failure to accurately disclose the end date for a sweepstakes, to a station’s employee rigging a contest so that his friends and family would win. READ MORE

The FCC’s contest regulations: A primer

Dale Joerling July 29, 2014
Sweepstakes_default blog

Our recent post about the possibility that the Federal Communications Commission will no longer require broadcasters to disclose contest rules in their advertisements brought several questions from readers. Most of the questions were about the FCC regulations and enforcement activities. Here is a brief overview of the two major components of the FCC’s Contest Rule. READ MORE

Poker runs are finally legal in Illinois

Dale Joerling July 11, 2014

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently signed into law the Poker Run law, which ended a two-year crusade to make it easier to use poker runs to raise money for charities. Poker Runs typically are events where people on motorcycles, bicycles or other vehicles travel to five or more different locations in a course set by the run’s sponsor. READ MORE

Will the FCC allow online disclosure of contest rules? Stay tuned

Dale Joerling June 25, 2014

Anyone who watches television or listens to the radio has heard a fast-talking announcer race through the abbreviated rules for a sweepstakes or contest . Or perhaps you’ve seen a copy of the official rules for only a second or two in a microscopic font size on your television screen. READ MORE

Fraudulent sweepstakes: What can we do?

Dale Joerling June 9, 2014
Sweepstakes_default blog

Nearly every year, complaints about sweepstakes crop up among the top 10 complaints received by the Federal Trade Commission. Recently I received a call from a number which I did not recognize. The woman on the line told me her name was Louise and she asked me if I could help her. READ MORE

Protecting personal information in sweepstakes and contests

Dale Joerling May 27, 2014

Sponsors of sweepstakes and contests need to be especially careful to protect all personal private information they receive from entrants in the promotions they sponsor. This is a lesson a radio station in Oregon learned earlier this year. READ MORE

Test your knowledge with the Sweepstakes Law Blog crossword puzzle

Dale Joerling April 29, 2014
Sweepstakes_default blog

My goal with the Sweepstakes Law Blog has always been to cut through those ambiguities and provide meaningful information about an area of law that affects innumerable companies, nonprofits, and marketing and advertising organizations. READ MORE

General Mills dips a toe in forced arbitration for sweepstakes, contests

Dale Joerling April 23, 2014

Last week, The New York Times reported that General Mills added language to its website notifying its customers that if they downloaded a coupon, joined the company’s online community on places like Facebook, or entered a sweepstakes or contest sponsored by General Mills, they would give up their right to sue the company. READ MORE

Facebook's promotional page terms get a facelift

Dale Joerling April 18, 2014

Thus far, Facebook has not strongly enforced its promotion guidelines. However, losing the opportunity to have your sweepstakes or contest on Facebook could be a severe penalty to pay for not complying with the rules. READ MORE

Charities and nonprofits: Don't roll the dice with gambling laws

Hap Burke April 11, 2014
Sweepstakes_default blog

Are you involved with a charity or nonprofit that raises money by selling raffle tickets or holds poker tournaments or casino nights to fund operations? Although your charity or nonprofit may be using the proceeds to fund programs for the less fortunate (and may ultimately be of tremendous value to society), the activities themselves may be considered illegal gambling in many instances and therefore prohibited by state and federal law. READ MORE

Hap Burke joins Thompson Coburn’s Sweepstakes and Contest group

Dale Joerling April 7, 2014
Sweepstakes_default blog

A partner at Thompson Coburn for more than 15 years, Hap focuses his practice on a broad range of corporate and transactional matters. He represents a wide variety of clients, including companies in the gaming industry. READ MORE

Now on deck: The law behind sports trading cards promotions

Dale Joerling February 25, 2014

Because sweepstakes and contests are such a popular marketing strategy, many industries develop promotions specifically tied to their products. For the world of sports trading cards, one popular promotion is the “box break.” READ MORE

Can a grab bag be a sweepstakes?

Dale Joerling February 4, 2014

When I hear the words “grab bag,” I think about stores that used to stock plain wrapped packages labeled as either for “boys” or “girls." For a dollar, you could choose one of these packages without knowing what it contained. READ MORE

What is the message of the film 'Nebraska' for sweepstakes creators?

Dale Joerling January 17, 2014

“Does your dad have Alzheimer’s or something?” “No, he just believes what he is told is true.” “That’s too bad.” READ MORE

Abbreviated sweepstakes rules: Don’t give them short shrift

Dale Joerling December 11, 2013
Sweepstakes_default blog

You couldn’t live in the United States very long without at some point seeing abbreviated rules for a sweepstakes. They are usually found in the fine print at the bottom of an ad, sign, email message, bottle top, or banner, and almost always begin with the words “NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.” READ MORE

Creating an in-house incentive contest? Don’t forget the rules

Dale Joerling November 15, 2013
Sweepstakes_default blog

If you create sweepstakes or contests, you understand that having a comprehensive set of official rules is essential. But what about a contest that is part of an incentive program for a company’s employees, dealers, or distributors? READ MORE

Sweet charity: Maine repeals its commercial co-venture licensing law

Dale Joerling October 9, 2013
Sweepstakes_default blog

Maine has repealed its statute that requires registration and licensing of commercial co-ventures. Effective on October 8, 2013, co-venturers will no longer be required to obtain a license to conduct a commercial co-venture in Maine. READ MORE

Sandra Grauschopf interview, Part Three: Vote farming, fair play, and how to create the best sweepstakes possible

Dale Joerling September 27, 2013
Sweepstakes_default blog

This week we’ve been talking with Sandra Grauschopf, a freelance writer and sweepstakes expert who manages About.com’s sweepstakes site and its forum for avid “sweepers.” In Part One and Part Two of this interview, Sandra gave us a variety of unique insights on her favorite types of promotions, and the most frequent mistakes she sees companies making in their efforts to market sweepstakes to potential customers. READ MORE

Sandra Grauschopf interview, Part Two: How to avoid annoying your sweepstakes entrants

Dale Joerling September 26, 2013
Sweepstakes_default blog

Today we’re continuing our conversation with Sandra Grauschopf, About.com’s resident expert on all topics related to sweepstakes and contests. Sandra manages the site’s forum for avid “sweepers” and also consults with companies sponsoring promotions. READ MORE

Q&A with About.com sweepstakes expert Sandra Grauschopf, Part One

Dale Joerling September 25, 2013
Sweepstakes_default blog

The sweepstakes world can be pretty evenly divided into two parts: The companies sponsoring sweepstakes, and the consumers who participate in them. Rarely do you have someone with a foot in both worlds, but Sandra Grauschopf does just that. READ MORE

What you need to know about Australian sweepstakes and contest regulations

Dale Joerling August 26, 2013

One of my favorite aspects of my practice is how it has connected me to fantastic attorneys and businesses around the globe. More and more, sweepstakes and contests are global in nature. READ MORE

ABA Blawg 100: We'd love your vote

August 6, 2013
Sweepstakes_default blog

Since our first post in 2011, we at the Sweepstakes Law Blog have been honored and delighted to bring you news and information on all legal aspects of contests, sweepstakes, and other promotions. Our readership has only grown over the last two years, and I look forward to tackling more sweepstakes topics in the months to come. READ MORE

Vote farmers plow under Taylor Swift contests

Dale Joerling July 26, 2013
Sweepstakes_default blog

Early in her career, Taylor Swift was a spokesperson for one of our clients. I drafted the official rules for several contests that were used for her concerts and appearances at the client’s sponsored events. (I am secretly convinced that it was those contest rules that lead to her phenomenal success a singer.) READ MORE

Boot Camp #5: Customer-only sweepstakes

Dale Joerling July 3, 2013

If sweepstakes law had Ten Commandments, the first would be “thou shall not require anyone to make a purchase in order to enter a sweepstakes.” Doing so could violate the gambling laws in virtually every state in the country. READ MORE

What you need to know about Canadian sweepstakes and contest regulations

June 26, 2013

Clients occasionally ask me to create official rules for a sweepstakes or contest that will be conducted in the U.S. and Canada, or in Canada alone. That’s when I contact counsel in Canada who I know have up-to-date experience with Canadian sweepstakes and contest laws. READ MORE

Supermarket chain gets freezer burn from $100K sweepstakes fine

June 13, 2013

Once again, a large retailer has been charged with violating New York state law by failing to properly inform customers that they could enter a sweepstakes without having to make a purchase. This time it was The Great Atlantic and Pacific Teas Company. READ MORE

Do sweepstakes and contests sponsors have to award all prizes?

Dale Joerling June 11, 2013

Most people would think that giving the prizes away in a sweepstakes or contest would be the easiest and most enjoyable part of being a sponsor. While in most instances that is correct, there are times when giving a prize away can be very difficult or maybe even impossible. READ MORE

FTC’s revised COPPA rules go into effect July 1, 2013

May 8, 2013

On May 6, 2013, the FTC unanimously decided that the revised Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) will go into effect on July 1, 2013, as announced last December. Several industry organizations had asked the Commission to postpone the implementation date because the FTC had not issued updated guidelines for the revised rules. READ MORE

EXCLUSIVE: Florida’s top sweepstakes regulator discusses recent changes to Florida’s game promotion statute

Dale Joerling April 23, 2013
Sweepstakes_default blog

Effective April 10, 2013, the state of Florida made changes to its Game Promotion Statute. The changes were made partly in response to the state’s recent ban of so-called Internet sweepstakes cafes. READ MORE

Is your promotion discriminatory in California?

April 11, 2013

It might not occur to you to think about civil rights act compliance when planning an in-store or retail promotion – but that’s just what the state of California requires. The Unruh Civil Rights Act is a California statute that specifically prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation. READ MORE

Do’s and don’ts for dot-com ads

Mark Sableman April 3, 2013

Internet and mobile advertising is subject to the same rules as anything else, the Federal Trade Commission recently assured us in a detailed 53-page booklet. To be fair, online advertising is subject to ordinary advertising rules. But there are always twists to how ordinary rules are applied online. READ MORE

Top 10 Sweepstakes Law Blog posts so far

Dale Joerling March 29, 2013
Sweepstakes_default blog

I thought I’d take a break from our Sweepstakes Boot Camp series to look back at the most popular Sweepstakes Law Blog posts over the last year. I ran the analytics on our site, and the results are illuminating. READ MORE

Boot Camp #4: Travel companions

Dale Joerling March 20, 2013

When someone wins a trip in a sweepstakes or contest, they usually expect that the prize will be for two people so they can bring a travel companion along on their journey. If your promotion requires winners to fly solo, you need to make that very clear in the rules and any accompanying advertisements or other promotions. READ MORE

Contest insurance, part two: Protecting your payout

Dale Joerling February 27, 2013

Part 1 of this series discussed how important it is to have contest insurance if the promotion has an expensive prize. It also warned that there are scammers who will sell you insurance but refuse to pay if someone wins the contest. READ MORE

Contest insurance, part one: Get it or regret it

Dale Joerling February 20, 2013

Recently I have helped several clients with contests that seemingly required entrants to do the impossible to win a prize. One promotion required contestants to guess a six-digit code that would open a safe. READ MORE

Boot Camp #3: Travel prizes

Dale Joerling February 15, 2013

“Win a trip to Tahiti.” “Travel to a NASCAR Race.” “You May Win a Fishing Trip to Canada.” “Win a Trip to Outer Space on the Virgin Galactic.” All of these titles are guaranteed to attract attention, particularly that last option, which could send your contest entrants over the moon with excitement. READ MORE

Vine: The new kid on the sweepstakes and contests block

February 7, 2013
Sweepstakes_default blog

The video-based social media site Vine is less than a month old, so I haven’t seen any contests or sweepstakes crop up, but it’s only a matter of time until companies take advantage of this inventive, highly visual social media application as a platform for marketing their sweepstakes. READ MORE

Boot Camp #2: Photo and video contests

Dale Joerling February 1, 2013

A picture is worth a thousand words, but a picture of your customers using your product may be worth thousands of new buyers. In the past, photo contests usually cropped up as “cutest baby” or “best picture of the year” competitions. READ MORE

Boot Camp #1 - Gift cards as prizes

Dale Joerling January 23, 2013

How much does the type of prize affect the popularity of a sweepstakes? I believe it can make a huge difference, even if the alternative prizes have the same value. READ MORE

FTC issues long-awaited revisions to COPPA rules

January 4, 2013

The Federal Trade Commission released its long-awaited amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) rules on Dec. 19, 2012. Anyone who creates or reviews sweepstakes and contests involving children should be aware of these changes. READ MORE

Sweepstakes webinar now available online

December 21, 2012

If you missed our October 2012 webinar on sweepstakes law, the entire presentation is now available to live stream. This one-hour session, "Sweepstakes, The Essentials: What You Need to Know,” provides a great overview of the legal issues surrounding sweepstakes, contests, and other type of promotions. READ MORE

Introducing Sweepstakes Boot Camp

Dale Joerling December 18, 2012

Fitness boot camps are all the rage these days. At these grueling workouts, participants run sprints, flip tractor tires and strain through push-ups, all with a red-faced “drill sergeant” screaming in their face. READ MORE

A very bloggy holiday

December 12, 2012

Season's greetings and happy new year! READ MORE

Pinterest issues new guidelines for sweepstakes and contests

Dale Joerling December 3, 2012

Pinterest’s guidelines caution companies that many of these requirements vary from place to place. They also urge promotions sponsors to work with a lawyer to make sure they are in compliance. READ MORE

Cake contest winner hits politician with not-so-sweet lawsuit

Dale Joerling November 19, 2012

Each sweepstakes is vulnerable to litigation. The number of entries or the value of prizes matters not. So don’t think your modest sweepstakes or contest is immune from a disgruntled entrant who knows her way to the courthouse steps. READ MORE

’Tis the season to combine sweepstakes and charitable donations, but be aware of commercial co-venturer laws

Dale Joerling November 13, 2012

Commercial co-ventures, or cause marketing, as it is sometimes called, generally involves an arrangement between a business and charitable organization to sell a product for the mutual benefit of both parties. READ MORE

Get drawn to our new sweepstakes comic, ‘Swept Away’

Dale Joerling October 24, 2012
2014 sweepstakes comic panel

“Swept Away" is a two-page comic that follows the colorful misadventures of a marketing team that makes a questionable choice on their official rules and ends up paying the price (literally). READ MORE

Sweepstakes law webinar a success

Dale Joerling October 15, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

Felicia Williams and I really enjoyed talking with all of you about the legal elements of sweepstakes, contests, and other marketing promotions. READ MORE

Lawyer who lost $100,000 contest prize spurs debate about ‘vote farming’

Dale Joerling October 9, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

Broadly defined, “vote farming” involves contest entrants launching broad social media or online “campaigns” with the goal of soliciting votes from strangers and winning the contest. READ MORE

‘Void in California’ no more: Alcohol beverage producers free to market sweepstakes

Dale Joerling October 8, 2012

Since the late 1990s, California law has prohibited producers and suppliers of beer, wine, and spirits from conducting sweepstakes or contests in California. It was the only state in the nation to prohibit promotions by alcoholic beverage manufacturers. READ MORE

Got an in-store sweepstakes? Better register in Rhode Island

Dale Joerling September 13, 2012

Under Rhode Island law, any game, contest or other promotion offering the opportunity to win prizes valued over $500 must be registered with the secretary of state if the promotion takes place in a retail establishment. READ MORE

Does the Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act apply to your sweepstakes?

Dale Joerling August 28, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

Promoting the sweepstakes via the U.S. Postal Service triggers application of the Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act (DMPEA) which contains a sizeable list of items that must be included in the sweepstakes. READ MORE

Consult this checklist before promoting your next sweepstakes

Dale Joerling August 22, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

Any businesses that promote sweepstakes should be just as vigilant about double-checking all elements of their promotions before releasing them to the general public. To that end, I’ve created a checklist of 12 of the most important things to look for in these types of promotions. READ MORE

A Thank You from the Sweepstakes Law Blog

Dale Joerling August 16, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

It's been a real pleasure to bring you information, news and legal commentary on all things related to sweepstakes law. READ MORE

Tweaking your way to disaster: Why you should use caution before modifying a company-wide sweepstakes

Dale Joerling August 14, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

Modifying a company-wide sweepstakes allows the local sponsor to tailor the promotion to its area, but it also creates the opportunity for something to go awry. READ MORE

5 pitfalls of refer-a-friend sweepstakes options

Dale Joerling July 13, 2012
refer a friend

When I saw an ad for a new Mexican restaurant that opened near my office, I thought about trying it. When I received a 10% off coupon in the mail, I thought about it again. But when my brother told me it was now his favorite restaurant, I went there for lunch on that very same day. READ MORE

An exclusive interview with Florida’s top sweepstakes regulator – Part Three

Dale Joerling June 27, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

This week we’ve been chatting with Liz Compton, the chief of the Bureau of Compliance at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. READ MORE

An exclusive interview with Florida’s top sweepstakes regulator – Part Two

Dale Joerling June 26, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

In yesterday’s post, we met Liz Compton, the chief of the Bureau of Compliance at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. READ MORE

An exclusive interview with Florida’s top sweepstakes regulator – Part One

Dale Joerling June 25, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

Florida is a recognized leader in the development and enforcement of sweepstakes laws and regulations in the United States. READ MORE

Sweepstakes nightmare: You failed to register your sweepstakes

Dale Joerling June 5, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

In sports, as in sweepstakes: Sometimes trying to do the right thing at the wrong time can lead to trouble. READ MORE

Sweepstakes nightmares: Your prize provider drops out

Dale Joerling May 18, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

Companies beware the wrath of a consumer with social media savvy and a serious axe to grind. READ MORE

The IRS wins every sweepstakes

Dale Joerling May 2, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

The IRS and state treasurers don’t care who wins the prize because they are guaranteed to receive a share of virtually every prize awarded. READ MORE

Are you violating the Facebook contest rules?

Dale Joerling April 25, 2012

“Like” it, “poke” it, but don’t post your latest sweepstakes on Facebook without some serious thought. Your contest could be violating the site’s promotions rules. READ MORE

Get your eyes on the prize: Tummy tucks but no tobacco

Dale Joerling March 27, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

For the most part almost anything can serve as a prize. But several categories of items may be illegal or so closely regulated that the related complications of offering them may prevent their use as prizes. READ MORE

Sweepstakes again rank high on FTC’s Top Ten complaints list

Dale Joerling March 12, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

Each year the FTC issues a report that categorizes the thousands of complaints it received from consumers in the previous year. The “promotions for free prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries” category is No. 3 on this year’s list, beating out 27 other types of complaints. In fact, the sweepstakes category been ranked in the Top 10 since the list was created in 1999. READ MORE

Sweepstakes loser wins in Canada’s highest court

Dale Joerling March 5, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

This decision sends a clear message to anyone sponsoring a sweepstakes or contest in Canada (and particularly in Quebec) that promotions such as this must not deceive consumers. READ MORE

FTC strengthens law protecting children’s personal information

Dale Joerling February 28, 2012

Because of the many technological changes and the increase in use of the Internet by young children since 2000, the FTC decided last year to review the Rule to see if it needed to be amended. READ MORE

Sorry, tweens: No sweepstakes or contests until you’re 13

Dale Joerling February 20, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

COPPA went into effect in April 2000. The law is designed to give parents control over the information that is collected online from their children. READ MORE

Beware privacy regulations when collecting entrant information

Dale Joerling February 10, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

People generally understand they have to give up their names and contact information when entering a sweepstakes or contest. How else can they get their hands on that widescreen TV or trip to Aruba? READ MORE

FCC expands its reach to online sweepstakes and contests

Dale Joerling February 2, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

Operating in accordance with the rules and alerting entrants to the material terms of the sweepstakes or contest is sound advice when creating any sweepstakes or contest. READ MORE

Consider this: How do states define 'Consideration'?

January 12, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

Three elements must be present — chance, prize, and consideration — for a sweepstakes to be illegal. In most instances, sweepstakes sponsors can avoid concerns about illegal gambling by eliminating consideration. READ MORE

Political sweepstakes – Win a lunch with President Obama or Mitt Romney

Dale Joerling January 10, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

Businesses use the Internet to host these promotions because they increase publicity about their products; streamline the design and implementation process; and, perhaps most importantly, provide the email addresses of potential customers. READ MORE

Do you need to register your sweepstakes?

Dale Joerling January 5, 2012
Sweepstakes_default blog

There are three states that require certain types of sweepstakes be registered before they can be implemented in their state. These states’ regulations include significant fines for companies that fail to comply. READ MORE

Shield your sweepstakes from gambling laws

Dale Joerling December 21, 2011
poker chips and playing cards

Virtually all state laws define illegal gambling as having three basic elements – prize, chance and consideration. The job of sweepstakes creators is to eliminate one or more of these elements from every sweepstakes they prepare. READ MORE

Sweepstakes and contests: What’s the difference?

December 14, 2011
Sweepstakes_default blog

As a sweepstakes attorney, one of the most frequent questions I’m asked is, “What is the difference between a sweepstakes and a contest?” The short answer: Lots. READ MORE

Children’s Advertising Review Unit objects to Paramount’s ‘Rango’ sweepstakes ad

Dale Joerling December 7, 2011

The children’s animated movie “Rango,” about an adventurous lizard voiced by Johnny Depp, raked in $245 million worldwide. But a vaguely-worded sweepstakes advertisement touting the film’s DVD release recently landed its distributor Paramount Pictures in some hot water. READ MORE