What are the applicable governing laws or codes for prize promotions?
Prize promotions are governed under both Federal and State law. Federal regulations generally apply only to prize promotions that occur across state lines. State laws govern prize promotions taking place wholly within a state. States have varying laws on prize promotions. Special rules also apply to sweepstakes promotions used in connection with sales of time shares and similar real estate offerings.
At the federal level, the US Department of Justice is primarily responsible for enforcing criminal violations such as illegal lotteries. The US Postal Service is responsible for enforcing regulations regarding sweepstakes sent through the mail. The Federal Trade Commission can bring actions for unfair and deceptive trade practices relating to sweepstakes and contests. The Federal Communications Commissions can bring actions relating to sweepstakes and contest offerings over broadcast, cable or satellite television, or radio.
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ('RICO')
Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act
Federal Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act ('DMA')
CAN-SPAM Act of 2003
Telemarketing Sales Rule ('TSR')
Telephone Consumer Protection Act ('TCPA')
Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act ('COPPA')
18 U.S.C. §§1301-1306 - Federal law prohibits lotteries and other forms of gambling
47 C.F.R. § 73.1211 – Code of Federal Regulations prohibits television or radio stations from broadcasting advertisements or transmitting information on lotteries
Arizona Stat. §§13-3301 to 13-3311
California – California Business & Professions Code §§ 17539.1- 17539.35; California Penal Code § 330, et seq.
Florida – Fla. Stat. § 849.094
Illinois – 815 Ill. Comp. Stat. 525/1, et. seq.
New York – N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 369-e
Rhode Island – R.I. Gen. Laws 11-50-1, et seq. and 42-61.1 et seq.
Texas – Texas Business and Commerce Code Chapters 621 and 622
The Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus was established by the National Advertising Review Council (NARC) to promote responsible children’s advertising. It has specific guidelines that govern sweepstake and contest promotions involving children.