Sweepstakes, Contests & Advertising Law


Re-Broadcast on August 3, 2017

In a highly competitive marketplace, sweepstakes and contests are a tried-and-true method of promoting a Company’s brands. The chance to win a prize captures the imagination of the public like nothing else. Alas, legal risks abound whether initiated by a disgruntled consumer and/or a regulator; and, if not properly conducted, a sweepstakes or contest could back-fire, resulting in negative publicity and perhaps legal sanction. It has happened, sometimes even with the best of intentions and planning by the sponsoring Company.

This presentation will provide an overview of promotion marketing law enabling the practitioner to assist his/her clients in properly structuring and conducting the sweepstakes/contest so as to minimize (if not eliminate altogether) the risk of adverse legal consequences.

The objective of the presentation is to give you the ability to address “random” marketing questions from business clients in an informed and effective manner.

Key topics to be discussed:

  • How to design a sweepstakes so that it is not an illegal lottery
  • The significance of consideration and the alternate method of entry (“AMOE”) in structuring a sweepstakes
  • How to design a lawful skill contest
  • The specific issues introduced by user-generated-content (“UGC”) contests
  • The key provisions of official rules
  • How to include Facebook, Instagram and other popular social media channels in a sweepstakes/contest
  • Registration requirements
  • Best practices for inclusion of abbreviated legal in advertising copy
  • Best practices for promotions offered via direct (postal) mail
  • Legal compliance issues relative to promotions intended for children
  • Best practices as to the “nuts and bolts” issues of administration of the sweepstakes or contest

Date / Time: August 3, 2017

  • 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Eastern
  • 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Central
  • 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm Mountain
  • 11:00 am – 1:00 pm Pacific

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  • Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
  • On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 7 business days after the original recording date.



schleifsteinScott A. Schleifstein is a partner in the law firm of Cohen Silverman Rowan LLP of New York, NY and Boulder, Colorado. Scott practices primarily in the area of promotion marketing law, including the marketing of alcohol beverages and other regulated products. Scott regularly advises consumer goods companies that sponsor promotions as well as agency clients with regard to sweepstakes, games, contests, offers and other promotion marketing initiatives conducted on-line, via social media, by text message, as well as via traditional off-line media (including in-store, print and direct mail). Scott’s counsel also addresses issues ancillary to promotion marketing, such as rights of publicity and privacy, the drafting and negotiation of prize supplier, talent and other agreements, as well as trademark clearance and prosecution. Scott is a proud graduate of Brandeis University and New York University School of Law.

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Section I. What is a Lawful Sweepstakes?
        i. The Standard Lottery Rule
        ii. What is consideration?
                • Monetary consideration
                • In•depth questionnaire
                • Store visit
                • Other
        iii. Neutralizing consideration by including an alternate method of entry (“AMOE”)
        iv. What constitutes a prize?
        v. How is chance defined?
                • Random drawing
                • Instant win game
                • Probability game
                • 1st X persons

Section II. What is a Lawful Contest?
        i. Application of the Standard Lottery Rule
        ii. Analysis of the traditional contest model
        iii. Analysis of variations of traditional contests
        iv. Contrasting of product purchase to entry fee for contests
                • In general
                • Implication of gambling laws
                • Specific state restrictions: Maryland, North Dakota
        v. What are “UGC” contests?
                • Definition of UGC contest
                • Intellectual property issues and other key concerns

Section III. Setting Up the Sweepstakes/Contest
        i. Official Rules• Key considerations
                • No Purchase Necessary
                • Eligibility
                • Entry Procedure
                • Winner Selection (Odds?)
                • Prizes
                • Conditions of Participation
                • Limitations of Liability
        ii. Who will administer the sweepstakes/contest?
        iii. Are there prize partners or other persons/entities involved?
                • Prize supplier agreements
                • Event sponsor agreements
                • Talent agreements
        iv. Can persons enter via social media?
                • Facebook
                • Instagram
                • Twitter
                • YouTube
                • Pinterest
                • Snapchat
                • Tumblr
        v. Registration/bonding

Section IV. Advertising the Sweepstakes/Contest
        i. What are abbreviated rules?
                • Where is the sweepstakes/contest being advertised?
                • Modifying statements in the advertising
        ii. Significance of consistency of advertising copy and Official Rules
        iii. Discussion of intellectual property issues in advertising

Section V. Specific Types of Sweepstakes/Contests
        i. Direct Mail
                • Federal law• Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act
                • State laws (Colorado, Texas)
        ii. Promotions Directed to Children
                • Federal law – Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act
                • Children’s Advertising Review Unit
        iii. Business•to•Business Promotions
                • Commercial bribery laws
                • Company policies

Section VI. Miscellaneous Issues/Concerns
        i. Winner Clearance/Prize Fulfillment
                • Affidavits/Releases
                • Taxes and IRS reporting requirements
                • Background checks
                • Post•consideration issues
        ii. Regulated Products
                • Alcohol
                • Tobacco
                • Dairy
        iii. Compliance with the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Endorsement Guidelines
        iv. International Promotions
                • Overview of Canadian, UK law
                • Taxes
                • Logistical concerns