Like New York, the state of Florida is clear on its laws surrounding game promotions, which include contests, games of chance, and sweepstakes. These laws protect consumers, and the state will enforce the laws with penalties, including legal recourse and fines.
Game Promotions Defined
The state of Florida defines a game promotion as a contest, game of chance, sweepstakes, or gift enterprise conducted by an operator (sponsor) within or throughout the state. A game promotion is incidental to the sale of consumer products or services (meaning, the sponsor is offering the promotion to consumers who may potentially use its products or services).
Like any other US-based promotion, there must be no purchase necessary to enter the promotion. Laws prohibit manipulating the game to predetermine winners, and sponsors may not remove, disqualify, disallow, or reject entries arbitrarily. They must award the prizes set forth in the official rules (see below) and may not print or circulate misleading or deceptive literature about the promotion (i.e. insinuating someone has already won something in advertising if they have not won a prize).
Bonding and Registration
Like New York, chance promotions with a prize pool valued at over $5000 must be registered and bonded. Unlike New York, Florida authorities will waive the bond requirement if the sponsor has conducted registered promotions in the state for five consecutive years without incident. A bond waiver is required.
All games of chance requiring bonding or registration must file the promotion within seven days of the start of the promotion. If the promotion is not submitted within that time frame, a fine will be imposed. The fines increase each time a sponsor submits a late registration.
Certified Winner List
To show the state you have fulfilled your obligations and adhered to sweepstakes law, all sponsors who bond and register in the state of Florida must submit a certified winners list to the state to close out the registration and terminate the bond.
In addition to state law, other federal laws apply to all games of chance. These laws may impose restrictions on how certain elements of your sweepstakes are structured, including, but not limited to:
- The type of brand sponsoring the promotion: Certain industries, such as the financial, alcohol, and tobacco industries may have additional requirements or ban sweepstakes altogether depending on how they are structured.
- The audience you are advertising to: The federal government has strict requirements on how and who you advertise to, including the information you collect and ways in which you share that information with the public. Marketing to minors is a slippery slope and carries very specific requirements to protect children under the age of 18.
- The channels and mediums for which you are conducting the sweepstakes: Whether you’re running your sweepstakes on social media, via text message, online, or direct mail, each individual medium has its own requirements that must be adhered to.
We are well-versed in Florida’s laws and can assist with creating a timeline to ensure your promotion is bonded and registered on time without penalty. Give us a call at (888) 744-3217 or submit a quote request here for a response within 24 hours or less!