Three Tips for Drafting Online Sweepstakes Rules

Enrico Schaefer - November 1, 2019 - Internet Law, Sweepstakes Law

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From the donation-based contests on Omaze that enter you for a chance to win experiences with celebrities to the quintessential Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes with a chance to win $2,500 a week for life, sweepstakes and contests are extremely popular with both companies and consumers alike across the internet. As a company owner yourself, you may be tempted to initiate sweepstakes or contest on your website to engage consumers. Before you do, however, you should make sure that your parameters are legally sound and fully articulated in sweepstakes rules on your website. Below are three useful tips for drafting Sweepstakes Rules:

1. Sweepstakes Require “No Purchase Necessary”

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) and Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) require that Sweepstakes Rules include language that “No Purchase is Necessary” and “A purchase will not increase your chances of winning.” Sweepstakes – unlike contests – are determined by chance, rather than skill. Further, to the extent you want to require an entrance fee for a contest, this would be considered an illegal lottery.

2. Every State Has Different Sweepstakes Laws

It is understandable that you would want your sweepstakes or contest to cover the broadest scope of people as possible, but be mindful that laws related to these can vary across states. For instance, some states may only allow people of a certain age to enter and other states might require certain “hoops” to be jumped through to qualify their residents for entry. This can get even more complicated when wanting to expand the sweepstakes internationally. It is important to only allow

3. Include as Much Detail as Possible

It is good practice – and often legally required – to be transparent in your Sweepstakes Rules and include information such as: Hostname and address; Entry period start and end date; Entrant eligibility; What the prize includes; How the winner is determined; and how the winner will be notified. Including as much information as possible about your, Sweepstakes will help entrants understand the rules and help keep your immune from adverse legal claims.

Need help drafting Sweepstakes Rules for your website? The attorneys at Traverse Legal can help draft rules that fit within your budget and needs. Come see for yourself how Traverse Legal is Changing the Way Law is Practiced.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney Enrico Schaefer, who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a practicing Business, IP, and Technology Law litigation attorney.