You Might Be a Winner

A blog from the attorneys of Verrill

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Category: Sweepstakes

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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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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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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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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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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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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Things That Make You Go Hmmmm

Commercial Co-Ventures and Sweepstakes Promotions Remember that song in the '90s from the C+C Music Factory called "Things That Make You Go Hmmm…." I guess I did when I came across some recent promotions. Perhaps these practice tips will stay with you longer than C+C's 15 minutes of fame...
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Win Tickets to Opening Day, But How Do I Get There?

Today (March 29 th) is baseball's opening day – the earliest opening day in history. If you're going to the Yankees' opener in Toronto, wear your ski caps it's going to be 9 degrees Celsius – which sounds cold. I bring up baseball because I noticed on mlb.com that...
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2017: The Stories that Weren't, Taken from the Tales of the Twilight Zone

"It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is...
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The Bare Minimum (Big Suggestions For Little Promotions)

Client: Do we need Official Rules for our sweepstakes? Attorney: Yes. Client: But we're only running a one-day sweepstakes giving away a one-way bus ticket to Cleveland. Attorney: Sorry. Client: But we're no Goliath. In the sweepstakes world size doesn't always matter. While as practical matter, a tiny sweepstakes...
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What Prizes Can/Can't Be Given Away

Some things you may not be able to give as prizes: - Smokes (MA, MI, VA) - Gas (NJ, VA) - Beer (many states) - Milk (restricted in a number of states) - iPad (formerly) - Yankees tickets (because they may contain a no-transfer provision) - Puppies (most states...
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Age Doesn't Matter Except When it Does

Marx once remarked, "Age is not a particularly interesting subject. Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough." Well, thanks Groucho, for that word of advice, but let's look anyway into the importance of age in sweepstakes. Minimum Ages 13 or older: If the...
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Sweepstakes Rules: How Much Is Too Much?

William J. Shakespeare recognized over more than 400 years ago in As You Like It that, "Excess may do you harm." This may still hold true today for sweepstakes and contest Official Rules. The internet has allowed Official Rules to be as long as a lawyer's imagination. But don't...
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Vacation Sweepstakes Edition (The More You Give, The Less You May Get)

It's summer vacation time and what better way to spend it then basking in the sun after winning that all-expense-paid prize trip. Or is it? Sponsors want to create buzz for their sweepstakes. And vacation prizes over the summer months may do just that. In my unofficial count, there...
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Some Common Sweepstakes and Contests Questions Answered

Our teachers have told us that there's no such thing as a bad question. In that light, I've come up with 11 common (simple) questions about running a sweepstakes or contest. And to prove that there are no bad questions, I've also gone ahead and answered them. Enjoy! Social...
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2016: The Year in Review

In case you missed it, here are some notable items from 2016 concerning sweepstakes, contests, and related promotional matters: Influencers, Native Advertising, and Endorsements 2016 kicked off with reaction to the FTC's new Native Advertising Rules which seek more transparency in sponsored stories/advertising. In March, in its first enforcement...
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U.S.A! U.S.A.! - House Votes to Eliminate the "Victory Tax" on Olympic Prizes

Olympic prize awards are generally taxed like other prizes. Some lawmakers have seen this practice of taxing our Olympians as a "victory tax." On Thursday (Sept. 22, 2016), the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill exempting U.S. medal winners from paying taxes on the money they receive from...
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Pinterest Revises Promotion Guidelines

Recently and without fanfare, Pinterest revised its Promotion Guidelines in a few significant ways. The old Guidelines said you cannot "run a sweepstakes where each Pin, board, like, or follow represents an entry;" you cannot require people "to Pin from a selection;" and you cannot "require a minimum number...
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In Honor of the Olympics We Give You the International Sweepstakes Edition

In a twist that would make Alanis Morrisette sing, "Isn't It Ironic", last week the New York Times reported that a survivor of an Emirates airline crash landing in Dubai learned days later that he had won $1,000,000 in the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Sweepstakes. http://nyti.ms/2bhMxkK For this...
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Why is That in the Official Rules? What to Know When You Copy and Paste

According to Wikipedia, the term "copy-and-paste" refers to the popular, simple method of reproducing text from a source to a destination. We all do it. You may even do it to draft your Official Rules for a sweepstakes or contest. No need to re-create the wheel, right? But, to...
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Enter to Win a Scholarship: Paying for College Through Games of Chance

For many young adults, college classes will be starting soon. For many anxious parents, college costs will be accumulating soon. Thank goodness you can try to bankroll tuition by entering the many available sweepstakes awarding "scholarship" money. For a student, college scholarship sweepstakes offer a simple alternative to actually...
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You Might Not Be a Winner

I came across an article in the Dallas Morning News the other day titled " Campus carry group may offer 'cash prizes' to UT students who call out anti-gun professors. " Whoa! The regional director of the group Students for Concealed Carry is quoted as saying "One of the...
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