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Void Quebec for Your Next Sweepstakes Promotion?: Peut-être pas si vite

An overwhelming number of US/Canada international sweepstakes promotions typically void the Canadian province of Quebec, resulting in Quebec residents being ineligible to participate. The province is typically voided because of a French translation requirement and a novel registration and tax regime based on prize value with the Regie des alcools, des courses et des jeux (the “Régie”). In an effort to expand sweepstakes offerings to this highly populated Canadian province, it has been reported that Quebec recently changed its promotion registration and tax requirements, making it easier to run international promotions open to Quebec residents.

Now, if an international promotion is open to Quebec residents with no Canada-specific prize pool, then there is no longer a requirement to register the promotion in Quebec with the Régie. For such international promotions, complying with the Quebec registration and tax structure would not be necessary, making it easier to offer the promotion to Quebec residents.  Due to Quebec’s advertising requirements, however, the French translation requirements would remain for all marketing materials, including the sweepstakes rules.   If, however, an international promotion is open to Quebec residents and there is a Canada-specific prize pool, then the registration with the Régie is required.  For example, if one prize to be awarded was to a Canadian resident and one prize to be awarded was to a US resident, the promotion would need to be registered in Quebec. Even where such registration is required, if a business has a sizeable Quebec clientele, it should consider offering the promotion and complying with the registration process, which requires a 30-day advance registration, the payment of a tax, and providing security for the prize.    

Take away:  Marketers promoting international sweepstakes in the United States and Canada should re-evaluate offering their promotions in Quebec now that the registration and tax requirements have been lifted for many sweepstakes. 

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