Contest & Sweepstakes Laws by State

Before you decide to run a contest or sweepstakes in the US, its best to ensure there are no specific laws or regulations prohibiting you from achieving your marketing efforts.

In addition to adhering to general promotion law, you’ll want to check into the various contest and sweepstakes laws by state to make sure everything is on the up and up.  While some states loosely regulate, many closely monitor consumer promotions and as such, impose strict penalties on sponsors who do not follow them. 

Your safest path in planning your next promotion is consulting with a sweepstakes administrator.  In the meantime, please feel free to review a sampling of the laws by state below. 

Contest and Sweepstakes Laws by State

Table of Contents

Alabama

Contests and sweepstakes in Alabama are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state unless the promotion involves alcoholic beverages.

For alcoholic beverage based sweepstakes and contests in Alabama, the state alcohol control board must pre approve the promotion as submitted on a prescribed form including official rules and advertising materials.

Alaska

Contests and sweepstakes in Alaska are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Arizona

Sweepstakes in Arizona are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Skill based contests involving a product purchase require registration with the Arizona Attorney General, along with a sworn statement regarding the product price attesting that the value was not increased during the contest period in order to increase business sales. A winner list must be supplied to the state within 10 days of awarding all prizes.

Arkansas

Contests and sweepstakes in Arkansas are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

California

For contests and sweepstakes in California, a prize winner cannot be required to pay or purchase a product in order to claim their prize.Additionally, sweepstakes and contest promotions in support of alcohol beverages cannot condition entry on visiting a licensed premise and all alcohol beverage sweepstakes must be open to residents of the entire state.In addition to the above, contests and sweepstakes in California are subject to general promotion law.

Colorado

Contests and sweepstakes offered via mailing are closely regulated. Certain comprehensive disclosures must be made in a prescribed format, including clearly advising the recipient of the mailing that he/she has not yet won, that a purchase or payment is not required and will not increase his/her chances of winning, the value of each prize and the odds of winning in a stipulated format.In addition to the above, contests and sweepstakes in Colorado are subject to general promotion law.

Connecticut

Sweepstakes in Connecticut are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Skill based contests requiring an entry fee for participation, should be looked at on a case by case basis. Otherwise, contests are subject to general promotion law.

Delaware

Contests and sweepstakes in Delaware are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Florida

Sweepstakes and other chance promotions with a prize pool valued at over $5,000 must be registered and bonded. Bond waivers are available for sponsors who have conducted registered promotions in the state for five consecutive years without incident. Filing a certified winners list upon completion of the promotion is required.

In addition to the above, contests and sweepstakes in Florida are subject to general promotion law.

Georgia

Contests and sweepstakes in Georgia are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Hawaii

Contests and sweepstakes in Hawaii are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Idaho

Contests and sweepstakes in Idaho are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Illinois

Contests and sweepstakes in Illinois are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Indiana

Contests and sweepstakes in Indiana are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state unless the promotion involves alcoholic beverages.

For alcoholic beverage based sweepstakes and contests in Indiana, the state alcohol control board must pre approve the promotion as submitted on a prescribed form including official rules and advertising materials.

Iowa

Contests and sweepstakes in Iowa are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Kansas

Contests and sweepstakes in Kansas are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Kentucky

Contests and sweepstakes in Kentucky are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Louisiana

Contests and sweepstakes in Louisiana are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Maine

Contests and sweepstakes in Maine are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state unless the promotion is marketed to minors.

For sweepstakes and contests marked to minors in Maine, sponsors may not collect health related or personal information from anyone under the age of 18 without first obtaining verifiable consent from a parent or legal guardian.

Maryland

Sweepstakes in Maryland are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.For skill based contests, a purchase cannot be required in conjunction with entry into the contest.

Massachusetts

Contest and sweepstakes in Massachusetts are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state unless the promotion is related to Tobacco.

Tobacco related promotions are prohibited in Massachusetts.

Michigan

Contests and sweepstakes in Michigan are subject to general promotion law

A store visit (without a purchase or attendance at a sales presentation being required) may be viewed as consideration deeming a chance promotion an illegal lottery.

Tobacco related promotions are prohibited in Michigan.

Minnesota

Contests and sweepstakes in Minnesota are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Mississippi

Contests and sweepstakes in Mississippi are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Missouri

Contests and sweepstakes in Missouri are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Montana

Contests and sweepstakes in Montana are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Nebraska

Contests and sweepstakes in Nebraska are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Nevada

Contests and sweepstakes in Nevada are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

New Hampshire

Contests and sweepstakes in New Hampshire are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

New Jersey

For contests and sweepstakes in New Jersey, a prize winner cannot be required to pay or purchase a product in order to claim their prize.In addition to the above, contests and sweepstakes in New Jersey are subject to general promotion law.

New Mexico

Contests and sweepstakes in New Mexico are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

New York

Sweepstakes and other chance promotions with a prize pool valued at over $5,000 must be registered and bonded. Filing a certified winners list upon completion of the promotion is required.

In addition to the above, contests and sweepstakes in New York are subject to general promotion law.

North Carolina

Contests and sweepstakes in North Carolina are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

North Dakota

Sweepstakes in North Dakota are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

For skill based contests, a purchase cannot be required in conjunction with entry into the contest.

Ohio

Contests and sweepstakes in Ohio are subject to general promotion law.

A store visit (without a purchase or attendance at a sales presentation being required) may be viewed as consideration deeming a chance promotion an illegal lottery.

Oklahoma

Contests and sweepstakes in Oklahoma are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Oregon

Contests and sweepstakes in Oregon are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Pennsylvania

Contests and sweepstakes in Pennsylvania are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Rhode Island

Sweepstakes and other chance promotions with a prize pool valued at over $500 must be registered with the state if there is a retail outlet in the state. Bonding is not required.

In addition to the above, contests and sweepstakes in Rhode Island are subject to general promotion law.

South Carolina

Contests and sweepstakes in South Carolina are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

South Dakota

Contests and sweepstakes in South Dakota are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Tennessee

Sponsors cannot require a winner to sign a publicity release in the state of Tennessee.

Otherwise, contests and sweepstakes in Tennessee are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Texas

Contests and sweepstakes in Texas are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Utah

Contests and sweepstakes in Texas are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Vermont

Contests and sweepstakes in Vermont are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state unless the promotion involves alcoholic beverages.

For alcoholic beverage based sweepstakes and contests in Vermont, the state alcohol control board must pre approve the promotion as submitted on a prescribed form including official rules and advertising materials.

Virginia

Contests and sweepstakes in Virginia are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state unless the promotion is related to Tobacco.

Tobacco related promotions are prohibited in Virginia.

Washington

Contests and sweepstakes in Washington are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

West Virginia

Contests and sweepstakes in West Virginia are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Wisconsin

Contests and sweepstakes in Wisconsin are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Wyoming

Contests and sweepstakes in Wyoming are subject to general promotion law and have no additional legal requirements specific to the state.

Visit the blog!

Our blog is an excellent resource for legal information, promotion strategy and promotion ideas. Feel free to browse around and call us with questions!

6 Types of Interactive Marketing Content That Inspire, Engage, and Convert

In an online world saturated with content, your brand has to stand out. An easy way to do that is to elevate your marketing beyond just pursuing engagement. The engagement you earn online—in the form of likes, comments, follows, and … Read More

Featured Post

How to Attract More Contest Entries by Creating a Dedicated Landing Page

If you’re on social media, you see sweepstakes and contests pop up all the time. It doesn’t matter whether you’re offering a product or service: Sweepstakes and contests are an easy way for any business to build their following, increase … Read More

Featured Post

How to Run a Profitable Giveaway

Giveaways are an excellent strategic marketing tool. For just a small cost to your brand, a social media giveaway provides plenty of return on investment. It amplifies the benefits you get from regular social media engagement and creates strong, positive … Read More

Featured Post

Ask us a question!

If you have a questions about a particular state or promotion structure, let us know! We're happy to brainstorm and provide insights to ensure you're all set before your sweepstakes or contest goes live.