How to Navigate the Winner Selection Process for 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 (e.g., marketing and the logistical considerations associated with running such contests) can come with legal risks for sweepstakes operators. Specifically, the method of selecting sweepstakes promotion winners can create unnecessary legal liability for business owners, if not handled properly.
Does it Matter How Sweepstakes Promotion Winners Are Selected?
As an initial matter, the sweepstakes promotion winner selection process should be spelled out clearly in the sweepstakes contest rules. Further, the winner selection process should be fair and unbiased. In most cases, the contest winner should be based on random selection or number match. When the winner is selected by a random drawing or number match, sweepstakes operators should use an independent third-party service to conduct the actual drawing in order to avoid the appearance or accusation of impropriety.
Importantly, the contest rules should include provisions that address contingency plans if the selected prize winner(s) do(es) not respond to notifications or is/are otherwise disqualified from winning. Such provisions should include the period within which potential contest winners must respond to prize notifications and, where necessary, the number of alternative winners that will be selected.
Additionally, records of sweepstakes winners must be retained for a fixed period of time. In some states, sweepstakes operators must make a winners list available to any individual, upon that individual’s request. In New York and Florida, a copy of the winners list must be filed with the respective state agency where the promotion’s prize(s) exceed a certain dollar amount. The list must be filed 90 days after the drawing date in New York and 60 days after the drawing date in Florida.
Sweepstakes Promotions Lawyers Make Sure Everyone is a Winner
Sweepstakes laws relating to winner selection require careful attention to detail. In addition, there are significant costs involved if the necessary precautions are not taken to ensure that the 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, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
This blog post was originally published December 12, 2018 and updated on January 5, 2022.
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