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Practice Overview

Sweepstakes & Contests Law

"Praised for their experience in sweepstakes and contest law."
Chambers USA, Notable Practitioners

Sweepstakes are just one form of promotional marketing. The challenge to carrying out an effective sweepstakes that doesn't expose your company to legal risk is to understand the complex web of state, federal, and international regulations that apply to your particular type of sweepstakes.

At Olshan, we help clients steer clear of the pitfalls that can cost both money and customer goodwill. We work with marketers, brands, advertisers and agencies to develop legal rules for local, national, and international sweepstakes and contests for clients ranging from boutique advertising and promotion agencies, to Fortune 100 and 500 corporations, to start ups and entrepreneurs. We also assist other law firms in servicing their clients while respecting their client relationship.

An Industry-Wide Reputation for Results

Our firm has built an industry-wide reputation over the years due to our extensive involvement with professional associations in the field, our commitment to quality legal representation, our educational outreach, and our sweepstakes website:

Our work has benefited many in the promotional marketing industry. Our Advertising, Marketing & Promotions attorneys helped broker a landmark, multi-state settlement agreement that set new standards for charitable sweepstakes solicitations. Proactive marketing guidelines were approved that should decrease the potential for future litigation and uncertainty.

Chambers USA, a leading legal directory that publishes annual rankings based on interviews with clients and peers, recognized Olshan's attorneys as "...a premier choice for sweepstakes and contests work."

Experience With A Value-Oriented Approach

We advise on promotions day in and day out. When you work with Olshan, we will help ensure the structural integrity of your sweepstakes, skill contests, interactive games and contests, and user-generated content promotions in order to comply with state and federal registration, advertising regulations, and bonding requirements. We are available to:

  • Create and/or analyze the structure of your sweepstakes,
  • Advise on alternative methods of entry and equal dignity,
  • Review promotional marketing advertising copy,
  • Draft sweepstakes rules and disclosures, terms and conditions,
  • Review and advise on privacy and data collection concerns,
  • Prepare winner affidavits and releases and submit winners list to appropriate governmental entities,
  • Handle legal issues relating to sponsorship and licensing contracts, and
  • Draft prize fulfillment agreements.

Olshan offers hourly rates, fixed project-based fees, or a retainer relationship. Whichever method you choose, you are guaranteed access to an experienced attorney who knows your business inside and out.

Impact of Social Media on Contest Law and Sweepstakes Law

The explosion of social media has both broadened the opportunities and increased the complexity of running such promotions. For instance, many companies seek to offer the opportunity to win a sweepstakes prize when customers or prospects follow them on Twitter or Instagram, “like” them on Facebook, or “pin” them on Pinterest. These platforms present exciting opportunities for consumer interaction, but require additional compliance with their ever-changing Terms of Service and Promotional Guidelines. Internet contests and sweepstakes law are a murky area, and companies can easily make unintentional but potentially embarrassing and costly mistakes.

Learn more about Social Media Law.

Sweepstakes and Contest Law Can Differ from State to State

Another reason to consult with a knowledgeable contest and sweepstakes lawyer when creating your promotion is that contest and sweepstakes laws vary depending upon the state. Creating contests and sweepstakes that span several states or the entire nation (and foreign countries) can pose significant challenges when attempting to develop acceptable rules.

Learn about all of our Advertising Law Services.

If you are considering the use of contests or sweepstakes to promote your business or cause, take the prudent step that can help you avoid a serious mistake. Contact our sweepstakes and contest law professionals today.

Andrew Lustigman Email
We Know Sweepstakes Inside and Out

Our sweepstakes attorneys have worked on a wide range of sweepstakes and other contest promotions, including:

  • Network television station national contest which encouraged members of the public, who were actively involved in serving their communities and had experienced recent economic hardship as a result of the current economic crisis in America, to tell their story (or the story of someone they knew), and enter for a chance to win a prize. Entries were judged on predefined criteria. $1 million was to be awarded though national and local promotions.
  • Cable television provider contest in which entries consisted of parents and their children submitting essays that described “How has technology changed how kids learn.”
  • Structured a reward program that provided purchasers of the company’s products with points to be used to buy products.
  • $1 million shot on goal at halftime for a major sports league All-Star game sponsored by a cable network.
  • Register-to-win prizes to promote cable, phone and Internet services.
  • A turn-a-key-to-win car event at a major festival.
  • Mobile marketing SMS and Premium SMS (PSMS) contests and sweepstakes promotions.
  • Fast 50 promotions for major national direct marketing company.
  • Interactive game promotions with instant win components along with drawings for major prizes.
  • User-generated content promotions for: a major hospitality chain, an online community in which members select the director and cast for a full-length feature movie, and a major New York City theatrical event.
  • Essay contests and recipe contests with public and professional judges.
  • Online promotion to convert mail participants to on-line customers.
  • Trade-only prize promotions targeted at specific service.
  • Million dollar charitable give-aways in connection with major concert event.
  • Interactive game promotions with instant win components along with drawings for major prizes.
  • Multi-channel in-store and radio promotions for international retailer.
  • Application development contests.


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