You Might Be a Winner

A blog from the attorneys of Verrill

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Gambling 101: The Vice That's Getting More Nice

Gambling and more particularly the regulation of gambling has been part of the United States before we were even the United States. Societal standards and the need for revenue have largely shaped the history of legal gambling in the U.S. Risk taking and opportunism were part of the frontier...
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NEWS ALERT! FTC Reverses Position On “No Purchase Necessary”

In an astonishing reversal (of fortune), the FTC today (April 1) announced that “No Purchase Necessary” is no longer necessary for games of chance, abolishing 168 years of legal precedent. With the inflation rate accelerating to 7.9%, gas prices up to $7.00 per gallon in some areas combined with...
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No Oscar for You! A Look at the Morality Clause

The 94 th Academy Awards might have had dramas you never heard of (subtext COVID), but it wasn’t lacking in drama. When Will smacked Chris, a collective “whoa” rocked the Dolby Theater. The drama intensified when the question was tacitly raised, can the Academy take back Will’s Oscar? The...
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Second Circuit Tells DraftKings Participants Cheating is Part of Sports – Get Over it

You read that right. The exact quote from the Second Circuit’s March 21, 2022 decision in Olsen v. Major League Baseball, Docket No. 20-1831, reads as follows: " [A]ny reasonable spectator or consumer of sports competitions—including participants in fantasy sports contests based upon such sporting events—is undoubtedly aware that...
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We Donate $1MM To Charity. Do You Really? The NAD is Watching.

Two recent “routine monitoring” determinations of the National Advertising Division of BBB National Programs may indicate a trend toward the NAD’s investigation into cause-related marketing initiatives. On March 1, 2022, the NAD reported that it had reviewed: (1) DoorDash’s website claim: “We are donating $1 million, with $500,000 going...
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Win a Train Wreck- Lessons From the Downfall of Artesian Builds

A custom PC company, Artesian Builds, who hyped its image by offering frequent giveaways ranging from $100 gift cards to t-shirts to custom built pcs, announced today (March 10) that it was suspending its business, following a controversy involving its Monthly Ambassador Giveaway. Please stand back when reading about...
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Is it Ruff To Run an Internet Currency Sweepstakes?

Last month, a class action lawsuit was dismissed, in part, against plaintiffs who opted into Coinbase Global’s $1.2 Dogecoin sweepstakes. Dogecoin is an open source peer-to-peer digital currency (say that twice), with a cute Shiba Inu as its mascot. Even though the sweepstakes dealt with the new and ever-growing...
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U.S.A.! U.S.A.! My Product Is Made in the USA

The Winter Olympics are here. I just watched the women’s U.S. hockey team take on Team Canada and it got me wonderin’: are those sweaters “Made in the USA”? To my knowledge, Nike does not tout them as such, and in fact, Nike has not revealed where its U.S...
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What Comes Around Goes Around (Odds Facts In The History of Promotions)

When defending Helen Keller from a charge of plagiarism, Mark Twain famously wrote, “substantially all ideas are second-hand.” While it’s possible to come up with a totally new promotion idea, many of our well-known techniques have much older origins. The Billboard: Citizens of Pompeii apparently lived in whitewashed buildings...
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It’s a Small World: Navigating a Global Sweepstakes

It's a world of laughter A world of tears It's a world of hopes And a world of fears There's so much that we share That it's time we're aware It's a small world after all. It’s a Small World by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman You...
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California’s AB 488: You Can Check Out Any Time You Like But You Can Never Leave

The State of California is getting a firm grip on regulating charitable sales promotions with its new law AB 488 which passed in October 2021 and will become effective January 1, 2023 (in order to allow the Attorney General’s office to promulgate regulations to implement the new law). What...
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Cameo and Commercial Co-Ventures

(Educating "Celebrities” on Their Fundraising Efforts)
Everyone not under a rock recently learned that you can soon purchase – for a mere $375 – a personalized video greeting from America’s former mayor turned outcast Rudy Giuliani (perhaps even with copious hair dye streaming down his face if he gets riled enough). For those of us...
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A Big Merci Beaucoup to Les Habitants

"Void in Quebec" Est Fini
Oh, Canada, you give us ice hockey, maple syrup, Tom Hortons, and one stubborn province that had a noted aversion to “publicity contests.” But no more. Quebec has amended its laws concerning mandatory registration and fees for “publicity contests” (or what we in the lower 48 call “sweepstakes with...
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Scoring A Touchdown With NIL Rights

“NIL” is short for “Name, Image, Likeness,” but for college athletes it may now mean “no income limits.” All three branches of government have essentially agreed that a college athlete could be paid for his/her NIL activities. However, what this means exactly is still far from clear. First, I...
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The Raffle: A Calvin to the Sweepstakes Hobbes

Every six-year-old boy, at some time in his short life, comes up with the idea of running a raffle as an ingenious way of earning some easy money. It is then left to his sardonic stuffed animal friend to counsel him on the things he can do. You can’t...
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Ad Says: “Terms and Conditions” Apply, Second Circuit Says: No They Don't

On June 8, 2021, the Second Circuit handed down its opinion in the case Soliman v. Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, Ltd. , No. 20-946, holding that the vague, small type in Subway’s in-store ad referring to its “Terms and conditions” alongside the website address for these Terms was...
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Animal Killing Contests: Is That Legal?

I literally had no idea. None. Until I recently saw that a bill in Oregon failed to pass (for the third time!) which would have prohibited the killing of coyotes in contests for cash or prizes. With the prize going to the hunter (used loosely) who can kill the...
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Cashing in on Vaccinations: How Can They Do That?

I love it when there are new and innovative approaches to sweepstakes. That’s been the genesis and driving force behind sweepstakes promotions since they began. The term “sweepstakes” itself originated in the late 14 th century to describe someone who “sweeps” (or takes) the entire stakes in a game...
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Sweepstakes for Charity: Try Your Luck at Avoiding Regulators

Sometimes doing good isn’t easy. Say you’re a company that wants to run a sweepstakes by asking entrants for donations to charity. Sounds simple. Everyone will think you’re an A-1, socially conscious brand that isn’t even looking to make a profit. Everyone that is, except possibly state regulators. Let’s...
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This Week's Show: Cause Marketing and Employee Engagement

On Saturday, August 8, attorney Tawny Alvarez interviewed Rob Laplaca, Partner in Verrill's Litigation & Trial group and Chair of the Promotions group, for a segment of HR Power Hour's radio show. For this episode, Rob and Tawny discuss cause marketing and employee engagement. Rob practices in two primary...
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Tips for Running Popular Sweepstakes during a National Emergency

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” Muhammad Ali We are seeing a nation pitching in to flatten the curve and countless unsung heroes on the front lines trying to help those infected by the coronavirus. Businesses too want to do their...
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Commercial Co-Ventures: What You Need to Know During a Pandemic

This piece will review important issues when running a commercial co-venture (CCV) during a time of a global pandemic. Filing Requirements: The six registration states (AL, HI, IL, MA, MS, and SC) have not amended their filing rules or deadlines in response to the global pandemic. In addition, these...
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Help! My Sweepstakes is Caught in a Pandemic

Forfeit prizes, cancellation, deadlines, termination, Stores closed, goods sold, how do we get through? Test kits, verification, new prizes, isolation, Entry dates, end dates, what can we do? TV ads, full disclosure, vaccines, when’s it over? Face masks, pick a winner, no more going out to dinner Social distance...
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Happy New Year! Now You Have to Worry About Abbreviating "2020"

I came across an interesting article in USA Today about how it’s really easy for miscreants to change the dates on documents abbreviating the New Year as “20.” For instance, say your “free” offer “Ends 1/2/20.” Some hacker may be able to change the date to: “Ends 1/2/2021” or...
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The Year in Lawsuits

2018 review- file cabinet label
2018 brought us the type of lawsuits you would expect in the world of sweepstakes, contests and giveaways. From "The Annoyance Lawyer" to Bobbleheads to "You're Probably Never Going to Be A Winner." The most depressing thing is the lawsuits themselves, often filled with either corrupt sponsors or litigious...
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New York AG Gives No Stars to Fake Online Reviews

On November 2, 2018, the New York Attorney General came crashing down on a number of moving services that paid for at least 60 fake positive online reviews posted under the heading "CHECK OUT OUR REVIEWS POSTED BY CUSTOMERS JUST LIKE YOU." As a result, the only checking being...
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What’s the Straight Dope on Marijuana Promotions?

Prop 215 was enacted in California twenty-two years today on November 5, 1996. This law was the first of its kind in the U.S. to legalize medical marijuana use. Since then 30 states have approved medical marijuana use and 9 have legalized recreational marijuana. Maybe a long timing coming...
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Dilly! Dilly! Is Giving Away Free Beer so Silly?

Cleveland Browns Stadium
Every beer drinking football fan in Cleveland knows by now that there will be magic beer fridges stationed throughout Cleveland that will miraculously open to produce bottles of free Bud Light if the football gods see fit to allow the Browns to win a football game this year. At...
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