Sweepstakes Promotions: Winner Selection Tips

December 12, 2018

How to Navigate the Winner Selection Process for Sweepstakes Promotions

Sweepstakes Promotions

Sweepstakes promotions continue to be a popular tool that businesses use for customer acquisition, engagement and retention.  However, several aspects of these promotional contests can come with legal risks for the sweepstakes operators, from the marketing that accompanies them, to the logistical considerations associated with the running of the contests themselves.  Specifically, the method by which sweepstakes promotion winners are selected can create unnecessary legal liability for business owners if not handled properly.

Does it Matter How Sweepstakes Promotions Winners Are Selected? 

As an initial matter, the sweepstakes promotion winner selection process should be spelled-out clearly in the rules associated with the contest.  Further, as a guiding principle, the winner selection process should be fair, unbiased and, in most cases, based on random selection or number match.  When the contest winner is selected by a random drawing or number match, it is advisable that sweepstakes operators utilize the services of an independent third-party to conduct the actual drawing, in order to avoid the appearance, and accusations, of impropriety.

Importantly, the contest rules should include provisions that address contingency plans if the selected prize winner(s) do not respond to notifications or are otherwise disqualified from winning.  Such provisions should include the period within which potential contest winners must respond to prize notifications, as well as the number of alternative winners that will be selected, where necessary.

In addition, records of sweepstakes winners must be retained for a fixed period of time and, in some states, sweepstakes operators must make a winners list available to any individual, upon that individual’s request.  In New York and Florida, for example, where the prize(s) associated with the sweepstakes promotions exceed a certain dollar amount and registration and bonding is required, a copy of the winners list must be filed with the respective state agency (90 days after the drawing date in New York and 60 days after in Florida).

Sweepstakes Promotions Lawyers Make Sure Everyone’s a Winner

Sweepstakes laws relating to winner selection require careful attention to detail.  In addition, there are significant costs involved if you do not take the necessary precautions to ensure that your winner selection process meets applicable legal and industry standards.  Proper planning and qualified legal guidance from experienced sweepstakes lawyers are crucial to ensuring compliance.

Please note that this is only a brief overview of some of the legal issues involved in running sweepstakes promotions.  As such, remember that it is important to obtain guidance from an experienced sweepstakes attorney prior to conducting any promotional game or contest.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic or require assistance in connection with your sweepstakes and promotional campaigns, please e-mail 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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