You Might Be a Winner

A blog from the attorneys of Verrill

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Category: Sweepstakes

The Year in Lawsuits

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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Having Fun with the Yankees (Or at Their Expense): Opening Day Edition

Marketing is supposed to be fun. And by golly, the folks at HBO are circling the bases by taking on sport's most esteemed franchise, the New York Yankees. I'm talking about Comedian John Oliver's "I Have Never Sat In A Premium Location" contest. If you haven't heard about it...
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Sweepers - Trying to Clean Up with Sweepstakes Prizes

By rough estimate there are over 20,000 people out there who devote their livelihood to extreme "sweepstaking." These dedicated denizens of the promotion world scour the Internet and newsletters in search of fame and fortune. They go by monikers such as "Mr. Sweepy" and "Grand Master Sweeper." Statistics show...
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Do I Need the Horse's Permission to Take its Picture for a Contest?

The Guardian reported on February 2 that the owner of a horse who was in a winning contestant's selfie claims that she should share in the contest prize because the winner did not get her permission to take her horse's picture. Unknown if the horse gave permission, I can't...
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Show Me the Money - When Taxes Can Turn Your Dream Home Into a Nightmare

It's that time of year again, the 20th annual HGTV Dream Home 2016 Sweepstakes began December 29th. As the sponsor of this promotion has recognized, winning a mansion could put you in the dog house when you are socked with a hefty tax bill. I've written about this issue...
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