Proposed New Jersey Sweepstakes Legislation Would Unfairly Stifle Legitimate Promotions

A bill greatly restricting sweepstakes promotions is shuffling through the New Jersey legislature. New Jersey Assembly Bill 2950 ("Regulates Operations of Sweepstakes In New Jersey) presents enormous problems for sweepstakes marketers. This legislation is not limited to just direct mail, but rather all channels.

There are several important areas of concern. In particular, if taken literally, the bill would greatly restrict the use of an alternate method of entry as consideration is defined broadly as "doing any act." Thus, the bill could be read as prohibiting requiring entrants to perform any act other than submitting an entry form as a condition of entering a sweepstakes. This would include tasks such as completing a survey form, submitting an essay or other types of user-generated content which is growing in popularity from being used in sweepstakes promotions.

Going against the trend of limiting full rules in all advertising, the legislation proposes onerous disclosure obligations in all advertising, including all conditions to receive a prize, whether all prizes will be awarded, the odds of winning each prize offered, the fact that the person has not yet won, a no purchase necessary message, the name and address of the sponsor, a description of all restrictions on any prizes offered, any limitations on eligibility, and deadline dates. For on pack games, the complete details on how to enter for free would need to be included on the product packaging rather than a number or address at which such details can be found.

The bill itself is quite complex and should be read by all marketers engaged in sweepstakes promotions. If you are interested in voicing opposition to this proposed legislation, please let us know.

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