These Six Letters Can Spell “Trouble” for Sweeps and Promotions

There are certain words and phrases that set the antennae of promotions lawyers – and law enforcers – buzzing. “Everybody wins” comes to mind right away – but there is one little word that can pay out tremendous legal problems and should concern anyone involved in executing sweepstakes and promotions. That word is “raffle.” While many people use “raffle” interchangeably with “sweepstakes” or “drawing” to designate a legal game of chance that any entity can run, most raffles are illegal under federal and state gambling laws. Narrow exceptions exist for certain activities involving nonprofit organizations, such as charities, but those carve-outs and their accompanying requirements vary from state to state. The chief problem with raffles is that they, by their nature, contain all three elements of an illegal lottery: (1) the award of a prize; (2) that is determined by chance; and (3) participants must…

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