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

Liz Compton
Chief of the Bureau of Compliance,
Florida Department of Agriculture
and Consumer Services


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.

In part one of the interview, we learned more about Liz’s background and the work of her team at the Division of Consumer Services. In part two, Liz responded to some hypotheticals about when and how sweepstakes should be registered in the state.

This information is important for all sweepstakes sponsors. That’s because Florida’s sweepstakes regulators are unique among others in the country, for more reasons than one.

It’s one of only three states that require certain sweepstakes to be registered and bonded. Florida regulators also closely monitor these promotions and won’t hesitate to bring administrative actions or impose fines should any sweepstakes fail to comply with its requirements.

But this friendly, knowledgeable staff is responsive and extremely helpful in answering any questions.

Here’s the final installment of our exclusive interview with Liz, where she expands on “material terms” and internal corporate promotions.

 

Dale Joerling:  Does Florida law apply to sweepstakes that are limited to the sponsor’s employees or distributors, such as an employee or distributor sales incentive program?

Liz Compton: No, because there is no sale of a consumer product or service involved.

 

Dale Joerling:  Must all prizes described in the official rules be awarded?  Does it make a difference if the official rules state that all prizes may not be awarded?

Liz Compton:  Properly claimed prizes must be awarded.  It is acceptable for the rules to state that all prizes may not be awarded if, among other things, the winner does not meet the eligibility requirements or prizes aren’t properly claimed. 

 

Dale Joerling:  What are considered to be the “materials terms” of a sweepstakes that should be included in all advertising copy pertaining to the sweepstakes?

Liz Compton: The following are considered “material terms” of a sweepstakes and should be included:

1) Name of the operator and game promotion
2) Start and end dates for entering the promotion (including times, if applicable) consistent with the official rules
3) A list of who is eligible or not eligible to participate with respect to age or geographic location
4) Disclosure of where the promotion is void
5) A statement that no purchase is necessary to enter or play the game promotion

 

Dale Joerling:  Is there any advice or other information that you would like to share with our readers?

Liz Compton:  It's important that they file registration with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, ensuring that all information noted on the filing documents is accurate and consistent.  

 

Anyone with questions may contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at:
1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) - Florida only
1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832) - En Español
850-410-3800 - Calling from outside of Florida

 

Dale Joerling is the chair of Thompson Coburn’s Advertising, Marketing and Promotion Law group. He is editorial director of the Sweepstakes Law Blog. You can reach Dale at (314) 552-6058 or djoerling@thompsoncoburn.com.

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