Sweepstakes and contest laws can get tricky in the US. But they can become even more complex (and expensive) when you want to allow residents of other countries to participate. While international promotions are not impossible, you’ll want to make sure you’re complying with the laws imposed by each country before you get started. Here’s a few of the most common countries that clients run sweepstakes in.
Sweepstakes Laws in Australia
Promotion structure must fall within the definition of a trade promotion lottery under Australian law and comply with privacy/data collection laws. Promotions are highly regulated at the state and territory level and require approval and permits in multiple territories.
Sweepstakes Laws in Canada
All Canadian sweepstakes winners must complete (and pass) a skills testing question before they receive the prize. The skills testing question can be incorporated into the entry form or completed after winners are determined. If including residents of Quebec, registration with the Regie may be required. French translation of all promotional materials (including official rules, website, ads, etc.).
Sweepstakes Laws in France
Official rules must be filed with a French Bailiff. Entrants can ask you to reimburse them for the cost of Internet or postage used to enter your sweepstakes or contest. This can become quite costly if your promotion involves thousands of entries. Translation of all promotional materials is required.
Sweepstakes Laws in Germany
Chance promotions must conform to German rules relating to Unfair Competition (purchase based skills contests are problematic and promotions involving certain social networks may not comply with German data collection law). Translation of all promotional materials is required.
Sweepstakes Laws in Italy
You must collect entries in Italy and a public official (located in Italy) must select winners. This makes it difficult to include Italian residents in a promotion offered to multiple countries. Promotions open to Italian residents must also be registered, bonded and reviewed by Italian legal counsel. Translation of all promotional materials is required.
Sweepstakes Laws in Japan
Promotion structure subject to the Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations and must be reviewed by counsel to ensure compliance. Total prize pool limits are imposed and translation of all promotional materials is highly recommended (although not legally required).
Sweepstakes Laws in Mexico
Promotions open to Mexico require authorization from the Federal Consumer Protection Agency (including a permit) and translation of all promotional materials is required. Random drawings must take place on Mexican soil with a witness and all taxes are directly imposed on the marketer (sponsor). Any prize valued at $5000 or more must be delivered to the winner in the presence of Mexican authorities.
Sweepstakes Laws in the Netherlands
All promotions must comply with the Dutch Code of Conduct to ensure best practice when offering a giveaway to residents. Promotions with a total prize pool exceeding 100,000 euros are prohibited and individual prize winners may not receive a prize (or prizes) in excess of 2,500 euros. A government license and skills testing question (for winners) may be required. Translations are not required but are highly recommended.
Sweepstakes Laws in Spain
Entrants may only be Spanish residents and drawing must take place in Spain in front of a notary. The Spanish Gaming Board must be notified when promotion starts and tax paid to Spanish Tax authorities within 30 days from promotion start. Full translations required.
Sweepstakes Laws in the UK
UK promotions are similar to those run in the US and Canada; however strict compliance with GDPR is required in collecting, storing and using entrant information.
Promotions may be prohibited in …
- Belgium: Chance promotions are prohibited. Promotions that involve guessing or predicting are allowed but highly regulated
- Brazil: Permission from the Ministry of Finance is required, but there is no standard practice for submitting or receiving approvals, making it very difficult to run a promotion here.
- Cuba: The US government strictly restricts trade with Cuba, so shipping prizes to residents may be illegal.
- India: Games of chance are prohibited.
- Ireland: Games of chance involving a purchase are banned (unless the sponsor is a nonprofit company).
- Sweden: While skill based contests are allowed, most sweepstakes and instant win games are prohibited.