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Sweepstakes Law: Money for Nothing, Album for Free?

The marketing industry continues to generate interest in various brands, products, and services by offering unique and engaging sweepstakes promotions. Companies design contests to reach all kinds of consumers, including music aficionados. Take the new Dire Straits sweepstakes: the band is giving away multiple copies of its soon-to-be released digitally remastered, “Money for Nothing” album on vinyl. While such promotional efforts are likely to attract new consumers, the success of any contest depends on whether it is designed and administered in compliance with applicable sweepstakes laws. To be sure that your promotion is legal, it is critical that you consult with an experienced sweepstakes attorney

Dire Straits Contest and Applicable Sweepstakes Laws

Contest sponsor, AVTech Americas Inc. (owner and publisher of analogplanet.com & stereophile.com) (“Sponsor”), prepared the Official Rules for the sweepstakes promotion. As with any successful set of contest rules, the provisions must be drafted in accordance with applicable sweepstakes laws. This requires careful attention to every last detail. Contest rules must include the following (among other provisions):

  1. a sweepstakes alternative means of entry (“AMOE”), i.e., language explaining that no purchase is necessary for entry, and that any such purchase will not increase the consumer’s odds of winning a prize;
  2. start and end dates;
  3. eligibility requirements, such as minimum age and states where entry is prohibited; and
  4. the odds of winning a prize.

Is the Money For Nothing Sweepstakes Compliant with the Law?

According to analogplanet.com, Money for Nothing, Dire Straits’ first greatest hits collection, has been newly remastered by Bob Ludwig. The collection will be available in digital and double vinyl formats in early 2023. To generate interest and attention to the remastered release date, the promotion sponsor issued the Official Rules for the vinyl Sweepstakes. As mentioned above, there must be an AMOE. Accordingly, the Money for Nothing Rules explain up front and in upper case letters: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. 

Other provisions include:  1) eligibility (each entrant must be 18 years of age or older as of date of entry and a resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia); 2) timing: Sweepstakes begins at 12:00:01 a.m. E.S.T. on January 20, 2023 and ends at 11:59:00 p.m. E.S.T. on February 3, 2023; 3) how to enter (individuals may enter the sweepstakes by going to analogplanet.com or stereophile.com, click on the post titled “The Dire Straits Money For Nothing Sweepstakes” and enter a comment); 4) one entry per participant is allowed; 5) drawing, including number of drawings and number of winners; 6) description of prizes; and 7) other terms and conditions.

Contest Details Must Comply with Applicable Sweepstakes Laws

Sponsoring a sweepstakes promotion is clearly an effective marketing tool. As we have seen, such tools are being used in many different industries, including music, restaurant, and even the promotion of social media applications. But remember, there are many issues to consider when setting up a contest. Chief among them is that sweepstakes contests rules must be carefully drafted to ensure that the rules comply with applicable laws. As such, businesses should seek counsel before running any contest promotion to avoid potential regulatory and legal challenges.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic or require assistance with contest advertising, your sweepstakes AMOE, and/or drafting contest rules, please email us at info@kleinmoynihan.com, or call us at (212) 246-0900.

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney. Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney.

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Photo by KrayBoul on Unsplash

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