Laws and Rules for Sweepstakes in Each State


First, it helps to understand the difference between a sweepstakes, contest and lottery. In a sweepstakes, winners are chosen randomly from all participants. In a contest, the winners’ entries are usually judged and are based on a skill or criteria. In a lottery, winners are chosen at random, but in order to enter, the participant must pay. A payment is called a consideration. Only states can hold lotteries, so all private lotteries are illegal.


To avoid being classified as an illegal lottery in any state, your promotion can only have 2 of these 3 elements: prize, chance and consideration. Keep in mind, consideration can mean anything of value, including a fee or even a significant effort (i.e., time spent shooting/submitting a photo, etc.)


Here are possible combinations:
  • Prize + consideration + chance = illegal lottery or gambling
  • Prize + consideration = legal contest (in most jurisdictions)
  • Prize + chance = legal sweepstakes

All sweepstakes in the United States must meet the following regulations:
  1. No purchase necessary. You can enter the sweepstakes without buying a product or service.
  2. Winners are required to pay taxes on prizes they win.

Text to Win Sweepstakes Compliance
  • Text to Win sweepstakes are legal in all 50 states including the District of Columbia.
  • All call-to-action statements (i.e., Text SWEEPKEY WORD to 65047 for a chance to win [prize description]) should follow with “Text message and data rates may apply.” disclaimer.
  • Sweepstakes and Contest Abbreviated Rules statements should be included in all printed and digital marketing materials.
  • The Sweepstakes or Contest Entry Page (page where participants enter contact information) should contain the following statement:
    • “You are providing signature, consent and agreement to receive marketing text (SMS) messages from the sponsor of this promotion. Message and data rates may apply. Reply STOP to end at any time. 4msgs/mo. max. Text HELP for help. Privacy Policy (url). Terms of Use (url). Official Rules (url).

States determine if the promotion is a sweepstakes or a contest by either the:

Material Test Element: when reviewing if chance or skill prevails in a promotion combining elements of both, this test determines the promotion as a chance based promotion if chance is an essential or important (i.e., material) component in the selection of a winner, even if chance does not dominate the selection of the winner as in the Dominant Factor Doctrine used by other states. 

Dominant Factor Doctrine: when reviewing if chance or skill prevails in a promotion combining elements of both, this test designates the promotion as a chance-based promotion if chance dominates the selection of the winner, even though skill or judgment may effect winner selection to some measure. 

Sweepstakes are regulated nationally and by state by the following organizations:
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  • United States Postal Service (USPS)
  • United States Department of Justice (DOJ)

State Specific Sweepstakes & Contest Laws

Besides federal considerations, every state has its own specifics laws regarding sweepstakes and contests.


See state specific laws:
Alabama (AL)

You can't imply or say, "You won!" a contest or sweepstakes as a tactic to sell something by mail.

Contests: If the contest includes an element of consideration, the sponsor must award the contest prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as participants do not pay consideration. Alabama does not consider any of the following considerations:

  1. Paying postage to request or return an entry form 
  2. A participant advertising the promotion to friends or relatives
  3. A participant going to a retail store
  4. A sponsor benefiting from increased sales as a result of the promotion

Prize Promotion Laws - Alabama's Deceptive Sweepstakes Solicitation Law

  • Sweepstakes that are advertised in mail/direct mail materials in conjunction with an offer to purchase a product or service cannot include any misleading statements that the recipient has won a prize. Any statement about winning a prize must include language clarifying what actions the person must make to receive the prize. 

Legal Review Criteria: Material Element Test when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.

Source: Ala. Code 9-9-13

Alaska (AK)

In Alaska, you'll need a state permit to run a game of chance (sweepstakes) or contest of skill (contest).

Contests: If the contest includes an element of consideration, the sponsor must award the contest prize based on skill and not chance. 

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as participants do not pay consideration. 

  • Sweepstakes must include a free method of entry.
  • If a sweepstakes ticket is combined with a product that has never been offered for sale outside the sweepstakes promotion, the sweepstakes is illegal gambling.

Alaska Cannabis or Marijuana Sweepstakes or Contest Laws

  • Cannabis or any product containing cannabis, such as food or drinks are not allowed as prizes.
  • Purchases of any related products can't be required for entry.
  • Make sure that your sweepstakes is only open to entrants age 21 or older with proof of age.
  • Any ads must have a disclaimer about the state's legal age for marijuana products, if any.
  • Similar to the tobacco and vaping industries, brands cannot use any type of marketing that can be construed as trying to appeal to children (characters, mascots, games, etc.)
  • Don't advertise your brand or giveaway in public (or private) places where children may be present, including billboards, buses/vehicles, television, and radio.
  • Don't use Facebook, Google, or any other advertising or marketing channel that specifically prohibits promotions involving illegal drugs to promote your giveaway.
  • Do not allow mail-in entries as this could be considered as interstate commerce.

Legal Review Criteria: Material Element Test when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Arizona (AZ)

In Arizona, you must register your contest (not sweepstakes) with the attorney general's office. When registering, you'll also need to supply a sworn statement that no additional fee was added to the purchase prize in connection with the contest.

Contests: are allowed as long as they do not charge a consideration.

  • It is viewed as risky to charge a consideration for a contest in Arizona unless the contest qualifies as an intellectual, skill-based contest and has been registered with the state. 
  • The statutory definition of gambling in Arizona indicates that a game in which participants risk something of value can qualify as gambling, no matter if the game is skill-based or chance based. Arizona case law indicates that this definition of gambling does not mean that every skill-based game with a prize and consideration qualifies as gambling. 
  • A skill-based contest can be designed so that it's not seen as gambling, it is permissible to charge participants payment.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as participants do not pay consideration.

Arizona Cannabis or Marijuana Sweepstakes or Contest Laws

  • Cannabis or any product containing cannabis, such as food or drinks are not allowed as prizes.
  • Purchases of any related products can't be required for entry.
  • Make sure that your sweepstakes is only open to entrants age 21 or older with proof of age.
  • Any ads must have a disclaimer about the state's legal age for marijuana products, if any.
  • Similar to the tobacco and vaping industries, brands cannot use any type of marketing that can be construed as trying to appeal to children (characters, mascots, games, etc.)
  • Don't advertise your brand or giveaway in public (or private) places where children may be present, including billboards, buses/vehicles, television, and radio.
  • Don't use Facebook, Google, or any other advertising or marketing channel that specifically prohibits promotions involving illegal drugs to promote your giveaway.
  • Do not allow mail-in entries as this could be considered as interstate commerce.

Legal Review Criteria: Uncertain


Arkansas (AR)

Like Alabama, Arkansas also frowns on implying that someone won a prize (or is a finalist or likely to win) as a tactic to sell a product or service or to make contact with prospects. The state also expects sweepstakes winners to claim any prize they've won within 30 days after the sweepstakes ends.

Contests: are allowed as long as they do not charge a consideration. If the contest includes an element of consideration the sponsor must award the contest prize based on skill and not chance and follow all Prize Promotion Laws prize disclosures.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as participants do not pay consideration.

  • In-package sweepstakes are allowed as long as there is a free alternative method of entry and the sponsor follows all Prize Promotion Laws prize disclosures.

Prize Promotion Laws

  • These laws come into effect in Arkansas when a sponsor offers a prize with the sale of a product or services.
  • Arkansas Prize Promotion Act includes written disclosure requirements, prohibited practices to prevent misrepresentation and a requirement to award the promised prizes.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


California (CA)

In California, you can't award alcohol as the only prize. Booze can be part of a prize package, however. The state also has other restrictions related to alcohol: you can't force entrants to buy alcoholic beverages as part of entry or force them to visit a liquor store, bar or licensed retailer as part of their entry or to get entry forms. Forms must be available elsewhere as well.

Contests: are allowed as long as they do not charge a consideration. If the contest includes an element of consideration the sponsor must award the contest prize based on skill and not chance and follow all Prize Promotion Laws prize disclosures.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as participants do not pay consideration and the sponsor follows all Prize Promotion Laws prize disclosures.

Prize Promotion Laws - California -Contests

  • Sponsored is required to provide a refund to any participant unable to participate in the contest through no fault of his or her own and who requests a refund in writing within one year.
  • Awarding the prize cannot be conditioned upon a minimum number of entries or contest participants.
  • Exempt from providing refunds are: sporting events, performances, tournaments of skill, power or endurance between participants who were actually present at the contest.

Prize Promotion Laws - California- Gifts as Sales Incentives

  • The sponsor cannot tell a consumer he/she has won a gift and in order to receive the gift, the consumer must make a purchase or pay unreasonable shipping or handling charges. 

Prize Promotion Laws - California- Telemarketing

  • If a prize or a gift is offered as part of a telephone solicitation campaign, the sponsor must register the campaign with the state and disclose the rules to the consumer or participant.

California Cannabis or Marijuana Sweepstakes or Contest Laws

  • Cannabis or any product containing cannabis, such as food or drinks are not allowed as prizes.
  • Purchases of any related products can't be required for entry.
  • Make sure that your sweepstakes is only open to entrants age 21 or older with proof of age.
  • Any ads must have a disclaimer about the state's legal age for marijuana products, if any.
  • Similar to the tobacco and vaping industries, brands cannot use any type of marketing that can be construed as trying to appeal to children (characters, mascots, games, etc.)
  • Don't advertise your brand or giveaway in public (or private) places where children may be present, including billboards, buses/vehicles, television, and radio.
  • Don't use Facebook, Google, or any other advertising or marketing channel that specifically prohibits promotions involving illegal drugs to promote your giveaway.
  • Do not allow mail-in entries as this could be considered as interstate commerce.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Colorado (CO)

Colorado wants all sweepstakes and contests to be free to enter, so you can't ask for a purchase, even if contest winners are selected based on skill.

Contests: are allowed as long as they do not charge a consideration. If the contest includes an element of consideration the sponsor must award the contest prize based on skill and not chance and follow all Prize Promotion Laws prize disclosures.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as participants do not pay consideration and the sponsor follows all Colorado Consumer Protection Act laws.

Promotional Laws - Colorado Consumer Protection Act

  • Contests or sweepstakes promoted via direct mail solicitation cannot require the purchase of a product or payment of any fee to participate.

Colorado Cannabis or Marijuana Sweepstakes or Contest Laws

  • Cannabis or any product containing cannabis, such as food or drinks are not allowed as prizes.
  • Purchases of any related products can't be required for entry.
  • Make sure that your sweepstakes is only open to entrants age 21 or older with proof of age.
  • Any ads must have a disclaimer about the state's legal age for marijuana products, if any.
  • Similar to the tobacco and vaping industries, brands cannot use any type of marketing that can be construed as trying to appeal to children (characters, mascots, games, etc.)
  • Don't advertise your brand or giveaway in public (or private) places where children may be present, including billboards, buses/vehicles, television, and radio.
  • Don't use Facebook, Google, or any other advertising or marketing channel that specifically prohibits promotions involving illegal drugs to promote your giveaway.
  • Do not allow mail-in entries as this could be considered as interstate commerce.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Connecticut (CT)

Connecticut also wants sweepstakes and contests to be free to enter and free of consideration. If there’s any condition or restriction to receive a prize in the sweepstakes, you’re not allowed to advertise the promotion in the state. You also can’t advertise a contest where a prize is valued at $200 or more and where the participant has to pay an entry/judging fee or has to make a purchase to help them win.

Contests: are allowed as long as they do not charge a consideration. Contests charging consideration are restricted to less than $200 in Approximate Retail Value of prizes. Sponsors with purchase-to-enter contests are excluded.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as participants do not pay consideration.

Promotional Laws - Connecticut- Contests

  • Connecticut does not allow consideration (payment to participate) if the contest offers a prize with a retail value over $200.
  • Connecticut prohibits the advertising of any contest that charges consideration.
  • The prohibition on advertising does not apply when a contest participant pays a consideration for the purchase of a consumer product or service, as long as the purpose of the contest is to promote the sponsor’s products or services.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Delaware (DE)

Delaware wants winner records kept longer. If your prize is valued at $25 or more, you must keep the winner’s name, address and description of their prize for 2 years after the promotion ends.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Promotional Laws - Delaware- Telemarketing

  • Telemarketers in Delaware must disclose all material elements of any offered prize promotion.
  • Telemarketers in Delaware must maintain records of all advertising materials used, prizes awarded, and name and address of the winner(s) who won prizes worth $25 or more.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


District of Columbia (DC)

The District of Columbia allows sweepstakes and contests.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

District of Columbia Cannabis or Marijuana Sweepstakes or Contest Laws

  • Cannabis or any product containing cannabis, such as food or drinks are not allowed as prizes.
  • Purchases of any related products can’t be required for entry.
  • Make sure that your sweepstakes is only open to entrants age 21 or older with proof of age.
  • Any ads must have a disclaimer about the state’s legal age for marijuana products, if any.
  • Similar to the tobacco and vaping industries, brands cannot use any type of marketing that can be construed as trying to appeal to children (characters, mascots, games, etc.)
  • Don’t advertise your brand or giveaway in public (or private) places where children may be present, including billboards, buses/vehicles, television, and radio.
  • Don’t use Facebook, Google, or any other advertising or marketing channel that specifically prohibits promotions involving illegal drugs to promote your giveaway.
  • Do not allow mail-in entries as this could be considered as interstate commerce.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Florida (FL)

Awarding a prize valued at more than $5,000? The state of Florida will expect you to bond and register your sweepstakes 7 days before it begins. After the sweeps ends, you’ll need to provide the names and addresses of all winners. If the prize includes travel, you must also register as a “Seller of Travel.”

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance. The sponsors may charge a consideration (payment to participate) but the prize cannot be composed solely of the participant’s entry fees.

Sweepstakes (or as FL calls them, Game Promotion): are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance. Sweepstakes offered in Florida whose prizes exceed $5,000 in Approximate Retail Value must be bonded and registered with the state.

Florida Registration, Bonding, and Operational Requirements for sweepstakes that exceed $5,000 in Approximate Retail Value of all prizes combined:

  • Registration Requirements: sweepstakes with aggregate prizes valued at more than $5,000 need to register with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
  • Bonding Requirements: Sponsors must establish a trust account or provide a bond equal to the Approximate Retail Value of all prizes combined if the prizes exceed $5,000 or more and notify the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that a trust or bond has been established.
  • Operational Requirements: Sponsors must publish the Official Rules online. In Florida, Official Rules must be posted in retail stores where the sweepstakes is available and Abbreviated Official Rules must be included in all printed advertisements. Additionally, the sponsor must file a winner's list for all winners that received prizes valued at $25 or more.

Promotional Laws - Florida- Telemarketing

  • When combining a promotion with telemarketing campaigns, if the seller tells a prospective purchaser that he/she is or may be eligible to receive a gift the seller must file with the state an information statement about the promotion.

Promotional Laws - Florida Free Gift Advertising Law

  • Florida prohibits deceptive use of the word “free” and similar words in any advertising. All advertising offering free items must include clear and conspicuous disclosures of all conditions or obligations necessary to receive the free item.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Georgia (GA)

In Georgia, you can’t substitute the prize for one of equal or greater value. You also can’t ask entrants to participate in a seminar or sales presentation to win. (Think timeshares.)

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Promotional Laws - Georgia Fair Business Practices Act

  • Prizes cannot be awarded based upon playing a game on a computer mechanical device or electronic device at a place of business in Georgia.

Legal Review Criteria: uncertain, possibly Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Hawaii (HI)

Hawaii is another state that asks for a “Seller of Travel” registration if the prize includes travel. It also doesn’t allow promotions in which some or all of the prizes may not be awarded. If your prize includes real property (a home or condo, for example), you must file a bond of $10,000 or more, with requirements for naming the obligator and surety.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Legal Review Criteria: Material Element Test when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Idaho (ID)

Telecommunications companies can’t combine a sweepstakes with any telecom offers in the state of Idaho.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - Idaho Consumer Promotion Protections

If a company offers a gift as incentive for the consumer to attend the sales presentation or to telephone the seller, the seller must provide promotion and prize disclosures and abstain from acts that may mislead consumers.

Prize Promotion Laws - Idaho- Telemarketing

  • If a prize or a gift is offered as part of a telephone solicitation campaign, the sponsor must register the campaign with the state and disclose the rules to the consumer or participant.

Legal Review Criteria: possible pure chance test when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Illinois (IL)

Illinois sweepstakes must be no purchase necessary. This means no payment to receive, use, compete for, or get written information about a prize.

Contests: Allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance. Illinois Prizes and Gifts Act prohibits sponsors from charging a consideration (i.e., money) to participate in a contest.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - Illinois Prizes and Gifts Act

  • If sponsors use print advertisements or marketing materials to offer the promotional prizes, then those printed documents must include disclosures like Official Rules and Abbreviated Rules.
  • Sponsor must deliver the prize within 30 days.

Illinois Cannabis or Marijuana Sweepstakes or Contest Laws

  • Cannabis or any product containing cannabis, such as food or drinks are not allowed as prizes.
  • Purchases of any related products can’t be required for entry.
  • Make sure that your sweepstakes is only open to entrants age 21 or older with proof of age.
  • Any ads must have a disclaimer about the state’s legal age for marijuana products, if any.
  • Similar to the tobacco and vaping industries, brands cannot use any type of marketing that can be construed as trying to appeal to children (characters, mascots, games, etc.)
  • Don’t advertise your brand or giveaway in public (or private) places where children may be present, including billboards, buses/vehicles, television, and radio.
  • Don’t use Facebook, Google, or any other advertising or marketing channel that specifically prohibits promotions involving illegal drugs to promote your giveaway.
  • Do not allow mail-in entries as this could be considered as interstate commerce.

Legal Review Criteria: Uncertain.


Indiana (IN)

Indiana allows seminars or sales presentations as part of a sweepstakes, but they must be disclosed in at least 10-point boldface type on the first page of the notice or entry form.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance. 

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - Indiana Prizes and Gifts Laws

  • If an individual or an organization delivers a written or digital notice that tells the recipient that he/she has been or may be eligible to receive a gift, the sender must provide disclosures and further information. There are specific statutory requirements for placement, font, and wording of the disclosures. 

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Iowa (IA)

Iowa also has rules about seminars and sales presentations. They’re allowed as part of claiming a sweepstakes prize, but the presentation can’t begin until the sponsor tells the participant of the prize and actually awards it. Another requirement is a 'Sellers of Travel' registration if the prize includes travel.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - Iowa Prizes and Gifts Laws

  • Contest may not be held at a school or amusement concession and the contest may not utilize a gambling device.
  • A sponsor of a prize may not ask a person to buy merchandise, pay or donate money as a condition of awarding a prize or as a condition of allowing the person to receive, use or compete for a prize.
  • A sponsor of a prize cannot charge money to provide information about a prize unless the sponsor first gives a person a written disclosure statement. 
  • Iowa Prize Promotion Law lists specific information that must be included in the prize disclosure notice and prohibits certain practices that may mislead participants or consumers.

Legal Review Criteria: Material Element Test when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Kansas (KS)

The state of Kansas doesn’t allow electronic machines that claim to give you a chance to win a sweepstakes or that sell merchandise while also allowing you to play a game of chance that may deliver a prize.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - Kansas Unfair Trade and Consumer Protection Laws

  • If a sponsor tells the recipient that he/she has been or may be eligible to receive a prize, the sponsor must provide disclosures and further information regarding any obligations or actions required to receive the prize. 
  • Kansas prohibits practices that may mislead participants or consumers.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Kentucky (KY)

Kentucky is similar to Kansas in forbidding any electronic machines that claim to give you a chance to win a sweepstakes or that sell merchandise while also allowing you to play a game of chance that may deliver a prize.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - Kentucky Unfair Trade Practices Laws

  • If a sponsor mails recipient advertising that says he/she has won a prize, the sponsor must provide prominent, conspicuous and clearly stated disclosures and further information regarding any obligations or actions required to receive the prize. 

Prize Promotion Laws - Kentucky Unfair Trade Practices Laws - Telephone Solicitations

  • If a telemarketer represents or implies that a consumer will receive one prize from a selection of multiple prizes to telemarketer must provide clearly stated disclosures and further information regarding any obligations or actions required to receive the prize.

Legal Review Criteria: Uncertain


Louisiana (LA)

The state of Louisiana is very specific about winner notification. You must tell winners they’ve won using one of these methods: posting a printed list, instant-win scratch-off tickets/cards or pull-tab tickets/cards, in writing or by phone.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - Louisiana Trade and Commerce Laws/p>

  • The sponsor must deliver the promised prize within 10 days.
  • The sponsor cannot charge for shipping or handling of the prize, if the prize is advertised as free.
  • Winners of promotions must be announced by one of the following methods; posted or printed list, scratch off tickets or cards, pull-tab tickets or cards, written or telephone contact of the winner(s). These requirements do not apply to promotions where only employees of the sponsor participate.
  • If a sponsor makes a prize offer that includes an invitation or requirement for the consumer to participate in a sales presentation or promotional program in order to claim the prize, the offer must include a disclosure. If it's a written prize offer it requires a written disclosure. If it's a verbal, a verbal disclosure. 
  • When using Direct Mail in Louisiana to promote a sweepstakes or contests, the sponsor must include odds of winning each prize offered.

Prize Promotion Laws - Louisiana Telephone Solicitation Laws - Telemarketing

  • Telemarketers that offer prizes in combination with sales campaigns must register, bond and disclose requirements of the promotion with the state.

Legal Review Criteria: Uncertain.


Maine (ME)

Maine wants to ensure alcohol brand promotions are no purchase necessary. You can include your sweepstakes, game or contest inside alcoholic beverage packages, so long as participants don’t have to buy the beverage.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - Maine Consumer Protection Laws - Transient Seller of Consumer Merchandise

  • Companies that sell a product or service via personal or telephone contact and have no permanent place of business in Maine are considered Transient Seller of Consumer Merchandise.
  • If a Transient Seller of Consumer Merchandise offers a promotion via telephone or direct-mail where the participant must pay something (consideration) in order to receive a prize, then the company must obtain a license from the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulations and pay a deposit.

Maine Cannabis or Marijuana Sweepstakes or Contest Laws

  • Cannabis or any product containing cannabis, such as food or drinks are not allowed as prizes.
  • Purchases of any related products can’t be required for entry.
  • Make sure that your sweepstakes is only open to entrants age 21 or older with proof of age.
  • Any ads must have a disclaimer about the state’s legal age for marijuana products, if any.
  • Similar to the tobacco and vaping industries, brands cannot use any type of marketing that can be construed as trying to appeal to children (characters, mascots, games, etc.)
  • Don’t advertise your brand or giveaway in public (or private) places where children may be present, including billboards, buses/vehicles, television, and radio.
  • Don’t use Facebook, Google, or any other advertising or marketing channel that specifically prohibits promotions involving illegal drugs to promote your giveaway.
  • Do not allow mail-in entries as this could be considered as interstate commerce.

Legal Review Criteria: Uncertain.


Maryland (MD)

Maryland also wants to ensure no purchase is necessary. In this state, a purchase can’t be required even if the contest winners are chosen based on skill.

Contests: Maryland places prohibitions on charging a consideration, however the applicability of the prohibition is unclear. Sponsors should exercise caution charging a consideration.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - Maryland Consumer Protection Act - Prohibition On Consideration and Mandatory Purchases

  • Maryland prohibits the sponsor from notifying a person that he or she has won a prize or is eligible to win a prize, if in order to claim the prize the person must buy products or services, pay money or submit to a sales promotion or presentation efforts. This prohibition applies to all promotions included those made by direct-mail.
  • Maryland prohibits offering any incentive in exchange for attending a seminar or sales presentation.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine or Material Element Test when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Massachusetts (MA)

The state of Massachusetts prohibits sweepstakes by tobacco or tobacco-related sponsors.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Massachusetts Attorney General message:

  • Like most states, Massachusetts wants sweepstakes promotions to be a legitimate tool to sell the sponsor's goods and services and not a cover to buy an entry for a chance to win in exchange for a good or service of negligible value or cost. 

Massachusetts Cannabis or Marijuana Sweepstakes or Contest Laws

  • Cannabis or any product containing cannabis, such as food or drinks are not allowed as prizes.
  • Purchases of any related products can’t be required for entry.
  • Make sure that your sweepstakes is only open to entrants age 21 or older with proof of age.
  • Any ads must have a disclaimer about the state’s legal age for marijuana products, if any.
  • Similar to the tobacco and vaping industries, brands cannot use any type of marketing that can be construed as trying to appeal to children (characters, mascots, games, etc.)
  • Don’t advertise your brand or giveaway in public (or private) places where children may be present, including billboards, buses/vehicles, television, and radio.
  • Don’t use Facebook, Google, or any other advertising or marketing channel that specifically prohibits promotions involving illegal drugs to promote your giveaway.
  • Do not allow mail-in entries as this could be considered as interstate commerce.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Michigan (MI)

Michigan also prohibits tobacco-related sweepstakes. It also doesn't allow sweepstakes where the entrant must visit a store or retail site in order to enter.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance. 

Prize Promotion Laws - Michigan Prize Notices and Solicitations

  • Michigan defines “requiring a participant to be present at a place of business for a chance to win a prize” a consideration, thus sweepstakes cannot require participants to be present in order to win.
  • If a prize is offered as incentive to attend a sales presentation, the prize offer must come with a detailed disclosure statement of the obligations or actions the customer must take in order to be eligible to receive the prize.

Michigan Cannabis or Marijuana Sweepstakes or Contest Laws

  • Cannabis or any product containing cannabis, such as food or drinks are not allowed as prizes.
  • Purchases of any related products can’t be required for entry.
  • Make sure that your sweepstakes is only open to entrants age 21 or older with proof of age.
  • Any ads must have a disclaimer about the state’s legal age for marijuana products, if any.
  • Similar to the tobacco and vaping industries, brands cannot use any type of marketing that can be construed as trying to appeal to children (characters, mascots, games, etc.)
  • Don’t advertise your brand or giveaway in public (or private) places where children may be present, including billboards, buses/vehicles, television, and radio.
  • Don’t use Facebook, Google, or any other advertising or marketing channel that specifically prohibits promotions involving illegal drugs to promote your giveaway.
  • Do not allow mail-in entries as this could be considered as interstate commerce.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Minesota (MN)

Minnesota promotions must let entrants know of any fees (shipping, handling, etc.) to enter or claim a prize with a notice in 10-point, bold face type on the prize listing: “You must pay $--- to receive this item.”

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - Minnesota Prize Notices and Solicitations

  • In Minnesota, if a person has to pay money as a condition of receiving, entering, competing or acquiring information about a prize, the sponsor must provide the person with a written disclosure statement called a “prize notice”. There are specific statutory requirements for placement, font, and wording of the prize notice disclosures.
  • If a participant pays money to enter a contest and wins, the sponsor must deliver to the winner the prize as described and promised within 30 days. The prize can be in the form of a voucher or a prize of equal or greater value, or a monetary payment of equal to the approximate retail value of the promised prize.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Mississippi (MS)

Mississippi doesn’t allow electronic machines that claim to give you a chance to win a sweepstakes or that sell merchandise while also allowing you to play a game of chance that may deliver a prize.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Missouri (MO)

Missouri is fine with promotions that ask participants to go to a seminar or sales presentation to claim a prize.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine or Material Element Test when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Montana (MT)

It may be difficult to have a contest recognized as such in Montana since the state recognizes 'any chance' in a promotion. Remember, a contest or sweepstakes can only have 2 of these 3 elements: prize, chance and/or consideration. Contests generally have prize and consideration (time and effort to submit an entry that will be judged based on skill). Most skill games have an element of chance, however, and courts here look at any chance that affects the outcome.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- Montana- Raffles

  • In Montana any person or organization may offer a raffle.
  • In Montana, raffles are defined as “form of lottery in which each participant pays valuable consideration for a ticket to become eligible to win a prize.”
  • No license or permit is required to offer a raffle in Montana
  • Raffle sponsors must own all the prizes before selling any raffle tickets and the value of the raffle prize may not exceed $5,000.
  • Raffle sponsors may sell tickets only at events and only to participants within Montana.
  • Sponsors may use the internet to advertise a raffle but it's prohibited to sell raffle tickets over the internet.
  • All raffle rules must be available to the public before the sale of any tickets.
  • Raffle sponsors must retain records for 12 months related to the proceeds, winners, and prize(s) awarded.

Montana Cannabis or Marijuana Sweepstakes or Contest Laws

  • Cannabis or any product containing cannabis, such as food or drinks are not allowed as prizes.
  • Purchases of any related products can't be required for entry.
  • Make sure that your sweepstakes is only open to entrants age 21 or older with proof of age.
  • Any ads must have a disclaimer about the state's legal age for marijuana products, if any.
  • Similar to the tobacco and vaping industries, brands cannot use any type of marketing that can be construed as trying to appeal to children (characters, mascots, games, etc.)
  • Don't advertise your brand or giveaway in public (or private) places where children may be present, including billboards, buses/vehicles, television, and radio.
  • Don't use Facebook, Google, or any other advertising or marketing channel that specifically prohibits promotions involving illegal drugs to promote your giveaway.
  • Do not allow mail-in entries as this could be considered as interstate commerce.

Prize Promotion Laws- Montana Telemarketing Registration and Fraud Prevention Act

  • If the telemarketing campaign includes a prize, in Montana, the offer must include a disclosure or statement clarifying what actions or obligations the person must make to receive the prize.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Nebraska (NE)

Promotions here must be “no purchase necessary,” even if contest winners are selected based on skill.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes (or as known in NE, gift enterprises): are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- Nebraska Prize Promotions Act

  • In a sweepstakes where participants can enter for a chance to win with the purchase of a product, the sponsor can require evidence of the purchase, as long as the payment of the product or service is not greater than it would have been without the promotion.
  • In Nebraska, a consideration does not include filling out an entry form, entering by mail or telephone as long as the mailing fees are no greater than the postage of a first-class letter weighing 1 oz. or less.

Prize Promotion Laws- Nebraska Telemarketing and Prize Promotions Act

  • If a sponsor is offering a prize via a telemarketing sales campaign, the sponsor may provide a verbal disclosure of the prize and requirements to obtain the prize. Nevertheless, if the sponsor has told the consumer that he or she has won or may receive a prize, the sponsor must deliver a written disclosure statement, a “prize notice”, prior to requesting or accepting money from the consumer. 

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Nevada (NV)

Nevada is another state where a 'Sellers of Travel' registration is needed if the prize includes travel.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance. 

Prize Promotion Laws- Nevada Deceptive Trade Practice Laws

  • If a sponsor is offering a prize via a sales campaign and the sponsor tells a consumer that he/she has won a prize, the sponsor must give the prize to the consumer without obligation and within 30 days of making the presentation.
  • Prize disclosures can be given verbally but if the prize disclosures are in writing, there are specific requirements for placement and font size.
  • In Nevada, if a sponsor is offering a prize via a sales campaign and the sponsor tells a consumer that he/she has a chance to win a prize, the sponsor must deliver a written disclosure statement and refrain from certain prohibited practices.
  • Disclosures and prohibitions do not apply if the consumer enters to participate in the promotion via mail, phone or retail store and if the consumer is not required to listen to a sales pitch.

Prize Promotion Laws- Nevada Deceptive Trade Practice Laws- Telemarketing

  • If a sponsor is offering a prize via a telemarketing sales campaign, the sponsor must provide prize disclosure and information statements as part of the call.
  • Disclosure and information statements must be filed with the state.
  • In Nevada, Sweepstakes or chance-based promotions offered via telephone solicitations require additional disclosures and must adhere to certain prohibitions.

Nevada Cannabis or Marijuana Sweepstakes or Contest Laws

  • Cannabis or any product containing cannabis, such as food or drinks are not allowed as prizes.
  • Purchases of any related products can’t be required for entry.
  • Make sure that your sweepstakes is only open to entrants age 21 or older with proof of age.
  • Any ads must have a disclaimer about the state’s legal age for marijuana products, if any.
  • Similar to the tobacco and vaping industries, brands cannot use any type of marketing that can be construed as trying to appeal to children (characters, mascots, games, etc.)
  • Don’t advertise your brand or giveaway in public (or private) places where children may be present, including billboards, buses/vehicles, television, and radio.
  • Don’t use Facebook, Google, or any other advertising or marketing channel that specifically prohibits promotions involving illegal drugs to promote your giveaway.
  • Do not allow mail-in entries as this could be considered as interstate commerce.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


New Hampshire (NH)

New Hampshire says prizes or gifts must be delivered free of charge within 10 days of announcement.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- New Hampshire Trade and Commerce Laws

  • In New Hampshire, if a sponsor is offering a prize via a sales campaign and the sponsor tells a consumer that he/she has a chance to win a prize, the sponsor must disclose the requirements for receiving the chance to participate.
  • No disclosure is necessary if all the participant has to do is mail an entry form, deposit an entry form at a retail establishment or call to enter by phone.
  • No disclosure is necessary if the participant is not required to listen to a sales pitch or pay any sum of money for any product or service or item of value.
  • If the sponsor tells a participant that he/she has won a prize, the sponsor must award the prize within 10 days without obligation or expense to the awardee.

Legal Review Criteria: Uncertain.


New Jersey (NJ)

In New Jersey, prizes or gifts must be delivered free of charge within 15 days of announcement.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- New Jersey Unfair Business Practices Laws

  • In New Jersey, it is unclear if the law permits skilled-based contests with consideration, if the winner can be determined by a method other than a panel of judges (ex. via public voting).
  • In New Jersey, a sponsor is not allowed to advertise that a person has won a prize and require that person to take certain actions or purchase any products or services or participate in a sales presentation in order to obtain the prize.

New Jersey Cannabis or Marijuana Sweepstakes or Contest Laws

  • Cannabis or any product containing cannabis, such as food or drinks are not allowed as prizes.
  • Purchases of any related products can't be required for entry.
  • Make sure that your sweepstakes is only open to entrants age 21 or older with proof of age.
  • Any ads must have a disclaimer about the state's legal age for marijuana products, if any.
  • Similar to the tobacco and vaping industries, brands cannot use any type of marketing that can be construed as trying to appeal to children (characters, mascots, games, etc.)
  • Don't advertise your brand or giveaway in public (or private) places where children may be present, including billboards, buses/vehicles, television, and radio.
  • Don't use Facebook, Google, or any other advertising or marketing channel that specifically prohibits promotions involving illegal drugs to promote your giveaway.
  • Do not allow mail-in entries as this could be considered as interstate commerce.

Legal Review Criteria: Material Element Test when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


New Mexico (NM)

New Mexico says if a purchase is needed to enter a sweepstakes or contest, the sponsor must also offer an alternate method of entry at no charge.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- New Mexico Consumer Protection Regulations – Game Promotion Rule

  • New Mexico’s wide-ranging definition of what constitutes a consideration is “anything of pecuniary value”. In other words, anything of financial value including “any business advantage to the sponsor, user or promoter of the game promotion”.
  • Game promotions that require skill or chance and a consideration from participants must include specific disclosures.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


New York (NY)

Like Florida, New York also requires that you bond and register any sweepstakes where the prize is worth $5,000 or more. This must be done 30 days before the start date. Winners’ names and addresses must also be provided afterwards.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- New York Prize Award Schemes

  • New York requires that all Sweepstakes offered to New York residents, whose aggregate prize values exceed $5,000 must register and bond the promotion with the New York Department of State.
  • Sweepstakes rules or abbreviated rules must be posted in any participating retail locations and included in all advertisements.
  • All sponsors must file a winner's list with the state at the conclusion of the sweepstakes.
  • Prize promotion disclosures are required for all sweepstakes, except for those offered by retail stores as long as the promotion is incidental to the retail stores business and the only requirement to receive the prize is limited to the winner traveling to the store.

Prize Promotion Laws- New York Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act.

  • If a telemarketing campaign includes a sweepstakes, the sponsor must keep records and provide disclosures directly related to the prize promotion.

Legal Review Criteria: Material Element Test when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


North Carolina (NC)

The state of North Carolina forbids electronic machines and devices for sweepstakes.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- North Carolina Consumer Protection and Prize Promotion Laws

  • If a company represents that a person has won a prize, the company must provide the prize to the winner without obligation. Prizes must be provided within 10 days of making the representation.
  • In North Carolina, a sponsor cannot tell every participant that they are a winner if the sponsor gives the same prize to more than 10% of all considered for receiving the prize.
  • If a company offers a prize in conjunction with a sales promotion, the company must present written disclosures that are clearly and conspicuously placed next to the prize description. 
  • In North Carolina, disclosures apply to all sweepstakes or contests offered as part of a sales promotion.
  • Excluded from disclosure requirements in NC, are contests in which consumers can compete for a prize by entering via mail, phone, or at a local retail store and are not required to listen to a sales presentation.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


North Dakota (ND)

In North Dakota, sponsors can’t require a purchase, even if the contest winners are selected based on skill.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- North Dakota Sports Amusement Laws

  • In a 1998 opinion from the North Dakota Attorney General, it was indicated that contests charging a consideration are allowed as long as the sponsor provides a written disclaimer, in other words a ‘prize notice’. 
  • In North Dakota, the sponsor has an obligation to award the promised prize if the sponsor requires money from the participant as a condition of awarding, competing or receiving information about the prize and if the sponsor represents to the person that he/she has won the prize.
  • In North Dakota, the sponsor must deliver the promised prize, voucher of the prize, alternate prize of equal or greater value or monetary payment of equal to the approximate retail value of the promised prize within 30 days.

Legal Review Criteria: Uncertain.


Ohio (OH)

Ohio allows machines or sweepstakes terminal devices, as long as they’re registered and certified annually by the attorney general’s office.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- Ohio Anti-Gambling Laws

In 2013, in an effort to combat by internet cafes, Ohio changed its views on what is seen as a consideration:

  • If less than 50% of the goods or services sold by a sponsor in exchange for game entries are used or redeem by the participant at any one location.
  • If less than 50% of the participants who purchase goods or services at one location do not use the goods or services sold.
  • There is a consideration if a sponsor pays out in prize money more than 20% of the gross revenue received at one location.
  • There is a consideration if a participant pays for more than the approximate retail value of the goods or services offered by the sponsor in exchange for one or more entries.
  • In other words, like in all other states, Ohio doesn't want you selling entries to a sweepstakes by exchanging worthless or low value products for entries.

Prize Promotion Laws- Ohio Prize Promotion Protection - Telephone Solicitor Laws

  • Under Ohio's telephone solicitor’s law, the company must register, bond and disclose the prize offer. Disclosures need to include the value, terms and the conditions that the consumer must complete to receive the prize.
  • All prize disclosure must include a statement that no purchase is necessary to compete or receive the prize.
  • An informational statement about the promotion must be filed with the attorney general 14 days prior to the start of the promotion.
  • In Ohio, companies that make telephone solicitations infrequently or solicit for religious, political or charitable purposes are exempt from Telephone Solicitor Laws compliance.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Oklahoma (OK)

If your promotion involves free and paid entries, the state of Oklahoma says free entries must be drawn from the same pool and in the same way. In other words, there must be an equal chance to win for all.

In other words: all entries, free or based on purchases, must be combined into one list and winner drawing must be from that one combined list.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- Oklahoma Consumer Disclosure of Prizes and Gifts Act

  • In Oklahoma, it's illegal to notify a person that they have won a prize and that that person must pay money or rent any goods or services in order to receive that prize. This also includes asking the winner to pay unreasonable shipping and handling charges in order to receive the prize.

Prize Promotion Laws- Oklahoma Commercial Telephone Solicitation Laws

  • In Oklahoma’s telephone solicitor’s law, the telemarketing companies must register the promotion with the Office of the Attorney General.
  • In Oklahoma, telemarketing companies disclose the prize offer material terms to the participant.
  • Oklahoma prohibits misrepresentation that a person has won or will receive a prize.

Legal Review Criteria: Material Element Test when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Oregon (OR)

Oregon doesn’t want you to tell entrants they’re finalists or likely to win if more than 25% of people receiving your notice or solicitation have the same chance of winning.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- Oregon Administrative Rules

  • In Oregon, like in all states, it is illegal for a business to make any false or misleading statements about a prize, contests, or sweepstakes used to promote a business.
  • Oregon requires that “Consumer Disclosure” or also known as “Official Rules” disclosures be clear and conspicuous and printed in a portion of the solicitation or advertising used to describe the prize.
  • If direct mail is used to offer the promotion, disclosures must be included in the direct mail pieces.

Prize Promotion Laws- Oregon Administrative Rules- Telemarketing

  • Telemarketers must provide prize disclosures as part of the call and register the promotion and disclosures with the state.

Oregon Cannabis or Marijuana Sweepstakes or Contest Laws

  • Cannabis or any product containing cannabis, such as food or drinks are not allowed as prizes.
  • Purchases of any related products can’t be required for entry.
  • Make sure that your sweepstakes is only open to entrants age 21 or older with proof of age.
  • Any ads must have a disclaimer about the state’s legal age for marijuana products, if any.
  • Similar to the tobacco and vaping industries, brands cannot use any type of marketing that can be construed as trying to appeal to children (characters, mascots, games, etc.)
  • Don’t advertise your brand or giveaway in public (or private) places where children may be present, including billboards, buses/vehicles, television, and radio.
  • Don’t use Facebook, Google, or any other advertising or marketing channel that specifically prohibits promotions involving illegal drugs to promote your giveaway.
  • Do not allow mail-in entries as this could be considered as interstate commerce.

Legal Review Criteria: Material Element Test when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Pennsylvania (PA)

Pennsylvania restricts contest prizes. The total value of all prizes for a contest can’t be more than $1,000 and the total value of all prizes awarded in any 7-day period is limited to $25,000. Alcoholic beverages also can’t be part of a prize.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- Pennsylvania Telemarketer Registration Act

  • In Pennsylvania, a telemarketing company offering a sweepstakes, contests or game must adhere to disclose requirements when making any representation that a person has won or been selected or may be eligible to receive a prize.
  • A telemarketing company must provide the odds of winning and advise the participant that no purchase or payment is necessary to win or obtain a prize.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion. 


Rhode Island (RI)

Rhode Island is among the states where you must register certain sweepstakes. If the prize is offered through a retailer and is valued at more than $500, you must register with the state. Registration is also needed if entry involves visiting the store to fill out a ballot or make a purchase.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- Rhode Island Prizes and Gifts Act

  • In Rhode Island, sweepstakes that offer prizes valued at over $500 and offer entry opportunities at retail stores within the state require that the sponsor register the sweepstakes with the Rhode Island Secretary of State.
  • Sweepstakes rules must be clearly posted, and the sponsor must maintain records of winners and prizes awarded for 6 months.
  • Rhode Island limits the shipping and handling fees charged to receive a prize.
  • If a sponsor represents that a person has won a prize, the sponsor must provide the prize to the winner without any obligation or expense to the winner.
  • If an individual or an organization delivers a written or digital notice that tells the recipient that he/she has been or may be eligible to receive a gift, the sender must provide disclosures and further information. There are specific statutory requirements for placement, font, and wording of the disclosures.
  • Promotion disclosures or prize notifications are not required if the participant can submit an entry by mail, phone or at a local retail store and is not required to be present or listen to a sales presentation.

Prize Promotion Laws- Rhode Island Prizes and Gift Act- Telemarketing

  • If a prize or a gift is offered as part of a telephone solicitation campaign, the sponsor must register the campaign with the state and disclose the rules to the consumer or participant.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


South Carolina (SC)

Awarding prizes in South Carolina must be done within 10 days of the announcement and at no expense to the winner. Winners also can’t be asked to attend a seminar or sales presentation to claim a prize.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- South Carolina Prizes and Gift Act

  • South Carolina requires that sponsors of sweepstakes or contests provide disclosures and further information about the promotion and prizes (i.e. Official Rules) offered. There are specific statutory requirements for placement, font, and wording of the disclosures when a company combines a promotion with a sales campaign.
  • South Carolina prize promotion law prohibits deceptive practices such as simulated checks or charging for excessively for shipping and handling of prizes.
  • If a sponsor represents that a person has won a prize or gift, the sponsor must deliver that prize within 10 days and without any expense to the recipient.

Prize Promotion Laws- South Carolina Prizes and Gift Act - Telemarketing

  • South Carolina has additional restrictions and disclaimer requirements for prize promotions offered as part of a telemarketing sales campaign and disclose the rules to the consumer or participant.

Legal Review Criteria: Uncertain.


South Dakota (SD)

No purchase can be necessary in the state of South Dakota. A solicitor or sponsor can’t accept payment from an individual or winner in any form.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- South Dakota Codified Laws

  • South Dakota Supreme Court defined a game of chance as “a contest wherein chance predominates over skill”.
  • South Dakota prize promotion law focuses on the requirements for Prize Notices. These notices must be provided to the participant prior to entering the sweepstakes or contest.
  • South Dakota has specific requirements for the placement, font and wording of the prize notice and prohibits any actions that may deceive the recipient of the prize notice.
  • If a sponsor tells a person that they have won a prize the sponsor cannot require any type of payment as a condition to receiving the prize before giving the person a written prize notice.
  • In South Dakota, you must give the prize to the person attending the sales presentation before the sales presentation starts.
  • Exemptions to providing a Prize Notice in South Dakota:

  • a. If winners are not selected by chance or any element of chance.
  • b. If the recipient can evaluate any products or services purchased for at least 7 days and can obtain a complete refund or cancel within 30 days.
  • c. If the recipient can keep the prize offered in the promotion without further obligation.
  • d. If the recipient is not required to pay for the item offered in the promotion or has to attend any sales talk.
  •  

South Dakota Cannabis or Marijuana Sweepstakes or Contest Laws

  • Cannabis or any product containing cannabis, such as food or drinks are not allowed as prizes.
  • Purchases of any related products can't be required for entry.
  • Make sure that your sweepstakes is only open to entrants age 21 or older with proof of age.
  • Any ads must have a disclaimer about the state's legal age for marijuana products, if any.
  • Similar to the tobacco and vaping industries, brands cannot use any type of marketing that can be construed as trying to appeal to children (characters, mascots, games, etc.)
  • Don't advertise your brand or giveaway in public (or private) places where children may be present, including billboards, buses/vehicles, television, and radio.
  • Don't use Facebook, Google, or any other advertising or marketing channel that specifically prohibits promotions involving illegal drugs to promote your giveaway.
  • Do not allow mail-in entries as this could be considered as interstate commerce.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Tennessee (TN)

Tennessee is the only state that restricts publicity releases. Here, you can’t ask sweepstakes winners to sign away publicity rights “in perpetuity.” Sweepstakes by alcohol brands are also restricted somewhat in that residents can’t enter them online (due to policy, not state law), but may enter them if entries were delivered by mail.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - Tennessee Consumer Protection Act

  • Tennessee law defines gambling as “risking anything of value for a profit whose return is to any degree contingent on chance”.
  • If a sponsor is running a sweepstakes or a contest for the purpose of a sales campaign and it tells the customer that he or she may receive a prize in exchange for the purchasing a product or service, incurring a financial obligation, visiting business, attending a sales presentation or contacting a salesperson, the sponsor must provide prize disclosures in Tennessee.
  • In Tennessee, a sponsor offering a contest or a sweepstakes as part of a sales campaign may not make the receipt of a prize contingent upon the use of the winner’s name for promotional purposes. The sponsor may obtain expressed written or oral consent from the winner before using the winner’s name for promotional purposes in connection with mailing promotions to others.
  • If a sponsor requires payment as a condition to competing, receiving or obtaining information about a prize, the sponsor must provide a prize notice to the potential participant. Prize disclosures must follow specific requirements as to placement and font size.

Legal Review Criteria: Uncertain.


Texas (TX)

If you’re giving away a prize worth more than $50,000 in Texas, you can’t give automatic entries with each purchase.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - Texas Contest and Gift Giveaway Act

  • If a sweepstakes sponsor is using direct mail to offer the promotion and the prizes offered are valued at $50,000 or more, the sponsor may accept entries via mail, but the sponsor cannot use the mailing address of the participants for any other purpose than documenting the entry for drawing.
  • Texas restricts sweepstakes sponsors to conducting only one promotion that uses the mail in every 30-day period.
  • If a company offers a gift or prize as incentive to attend a sales presentation, the company must provide in writing the details about the sales presentation and the prize.
  • If a company offers a gift or prize as incentive to attend a sales presentation, the company must maintain records about solicitations, prizes, winners or recipients and make those records available to anyone, including the Texas Attorney General.
  • The requirements above do not apply to promotions that take place at trade shows or business conferences as long as the participants are all attendees of the events.

Prize Promotion Laws - Texas Business and Commerce Code - Telemarketing

  • If running a telemarketing sales campaign and a prize or gift is offered, the sponsor must provide disclosures about the offer and prize. The sponsor is also required to register the telemarketing promotion with the Texas Secretary of State office.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Utah (UT)

If awarding a prize in Utah, the winner must claim it within 30 days after the sweepstakes ends.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - Utah Notices Regulation Act

  • Utah defines a prize notice as a communication to an individual that represents that he or she may be selected to receive a prize and if there is a condition of payment or donation or the individual is invited to contact the company or find out more about the prize placement.
  • Prize notice disclosures have specific placement, font and language required in Utah.
  • In Utah, if a sponsor represents that a person has won or may win a prize, the sponsor must provide a written prize notice to the participant or winner before receiving any payment.
  • In Utah, if a sponsor offers a prize as an incentive for their participants to see, hear, or attend the sales presentation, the presentation can’t begin until the sponsor tells the participant of the prize and awards it.
  • It's good practice to have a prize notice or Official Rules as part of any sweepstakes and contests in Utah or any other state.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Vermont (VT)

In 2013, Vermont amended its Commerce and Trade Laws to allow sponsors to charge an entry fee, a service charge, require purchase or similar consideration for entering into a game of skill (i.e. contest) or other promotion not based on chance.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Legal Review Criteria: Uncertain.


Virginia (VA)

Tobacco-related sweepstakes are not allowed in Virginia.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - Virginia Prizes and Gift Act

  • Virginia does not see witnessing a demonstration or a similar event or going to a sponsor’s premises as consideration.
  • Virginia prize promotion law prohibits deceptive practices such as simulated checks, invoices or charging for excessively for shipping and handling of prizes.
  • If the sponsor tells a participant that he/she has won a prize, the sponsor must award the prize within 10 days without obligation or expense to the awardee.
  • In Virginia, the sponsor must provide verbal or written disclosures to participants eligible to win a prize.
  • Prize notices or disclosures need to include the sponsor name, the actions that need to be completed to win the prize, any money that the participant must pay to receive the prize, including shipping and handling or purchasing another product or service and any other relevant conditions. Written disclosures include placement, font and language requirements.
  • In Virginia, there are no prize disclosure requirements if all the participant has to do to be eligible to win is to complete an entry form and as long as a participant is not required to listen to a sales pitch or pay money for any product or service.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Washington (WA)

Washington does not view entering sweepstakes via entry form, survey, phone, stamped self-addressed envelope or visiting a retail location as consideration.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - Washington Prize Notice Promotion Laws

  • In Washington, if a sponsor promotes their sweepstakes via direct mail or other printed materials saying that the recipient has or will be awarded a prize, then the sponsor must comply with specific disclosures that need to be included in the written offer or advertisement.
  • In Washington, if a sponsor tells a participant that he or she has won, the prize must be awarded.
  • Excluded from disclosure requirements are giveaway types of promotion where every participant receives a prize or a gift as long as:
    • chance doesn't determine who wins.
    • the consumer can return any purchase within 30 days for a full refund.
    • the participant can keep the prize without obligation.
    • the participant is not required to attend a sales presentation.
    • the participant is not required to spend any money to receive the prize, including shipping or handling fees.

Washington Cannabis or Marijuana Sweepstakes or Contest Laws

  • Cannabis or any product containing cannabis, such as food or drinks are not allowed as prizes.
  • Purchases of any related products can’t be required for entry.
  • Make sure that your sweepstakes is only open to entrants age 21 or older with proof of age.
  • Any ads must have a disclaimer about the state’s legal age for marijuana products, if any.
  • Similar to the tobacco and vaping industries, brands cannot use any type of marketing that can be construed as trying to appeal to children (characters, mascots, games, etc.)
  • Don’t advertise your brand or giveaway in public (or private) places where children may be present, including billboards, buses/vehicles, television, and radio.
  • Don’t use Facebook, Google, or any other advertising or marketing channel that specifically prohibits promotions involving illegal drugs to promote your giveaway.
  • Do not allow mail-in entries as this could be considered as interstate commerce.

Legal Review Criteria: Material Element Test when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


West Virginia (WV)

Running a bottle cap promotion in West Virginia? The state wants you to provide free bottle caps to retailers as a way to offer free method of entry.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - West Virginia Prizes and Gifts Act

  • West Virginia does not view entering sweepstakes via entry form, mail-in form, toll-free phone, or visiting a retail location as consideration.
  • West Virginia prize promotion law prohibits deceptive practices such as simulated checks or charging for excessively for shipping and handling of prizes.
  • If the sponsor tells a participant that he/she has won a prize, the sponsor must award the prize within 10 days without obligation or expense to the awardee.
  • If the sponsor tells a participant that he/she is eligible or has a chance to win the sponsor must provide prize disclosures.
  • In West Virginia, prize disclosures can be verbal or written but if they're written there are specific requirements for placement, font and text.
  • A promotion is excluded from prize disclosure requirements if in order to enter the participant only has to complete a web entry form or mail-in entry form or local store entry form or toll-free phone call and the participant is not required to listen to a sales presentation or purchase any good or service.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Wisconsin (WI)

The state of Wisconsin also wants sponsors to offer free entry and ask you to provide retailers with enough entry forms or game pieces to allow free participation by customers.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws - Wisconsin Prize Notices

  • Like all states, Wisconsin views Payment of any kind as a consideration.
  • Wisconsin views the following not considerations:
    • Listening to a radio program.
    • Watching a TV program or commercial.
    • Completing and mailing an entry form.
    • Providing a proof of purchase.
    • Completing an entry form at an event as long as the entry form can be submitted in an area in which an admission fee is not required.
    • Visiting a retail store as long as participants are not required to make a purchase or pay for admission.
  • Wisconsin’s in-pack or purchase-to-enter sweepstakes promotions are legal as long as the following conditions are met:
    • A free method of entry (i.e. Alternative Method of Entry) is available to all.
    • Product packaging contains Abbreviated Rules with methods of play and promotion End Date.
    • Sponsor provides the retailer with enough free play forms or codes.
    • Sponsor does not misrepresent chances of winning.
    • Sponsor randomly seeds or distributes all game pieces and retains records of the random distributions for at least 365 days.
    • Sponsor randomly Awards all prizes if the game pieces are not used.
    • The name and addresses of all winners with prizes over $100 must be available to the state of Wisconsin upon request.
  • In Wisconsin a prize notice disclosure is required when:
    • The sponsor represents that a person has won or is eligible to win a prize. The sponsor may not request or accept payment from the winner before the winner receives the written prize notice.
    • The sponsor is allowed to offer a prize as part of an incentive to attend a sales presentation, but the presentation can’t begin until the sponsor tells the participant of the prize and awards it.
    • In general, it's advisable that any sponsor includes written prize notice disclosure within the Official Rules of any promotion that charges a consideration in Wisconsin.

Legal Review Criteria: Dominant Factor Doctrine when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.


Wyoming (WY)

Wyoming holds laws regarding prize awards. If for some reason the prize offered is not available, you must provide: another prize you’ve listed of equal or greater value, the prize value in cash, check, voucher or certificate, or evidence that the prize will be shipped within 30 days at no cost.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- Wyoming Promotional Advertising of Prizes

  • There are specific statutory requirements for placement, font, and wording of the prize notice disclosures.
  • In Wyoming, if the sponsor represents that a person has won or is eligible to win a prize, the sponsor may not request or accept payment from the winner before the winner receives the written prize notice.
  • Sponsors are allowed to offer a prize as part of an incentive to hear, view or attend a sales presentation but the presentation can’t begin until the sponsor tells the participant of the prize and awards it.
  • In general, it's advisable that any sponsor includes written prize notice disclosure within the Official Rules of any promotion that charges a consideration.

Legal Review Criteria: Uncertain.


State Sweepstakes Allowed Contests Allowed Social Media Sweepstkes Allowed* Text to Win Sweepstakes Allowed Cannabis Sweepstakes Allowed Intant Win Games
Alabama Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Alaska Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
Arizona Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
Arkansas Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
California Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
Colorado Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
Connecticut Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Delaware Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
District of Columbia Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
Florida Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Georgia Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Hawaii Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Idaho Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Illinois Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
Indiana Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Iowa Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Kansas Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Kentucky Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Louisiana Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Maine Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
Maryland Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Massachusetts Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
Michigan Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
Minnesota Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Mississippi Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Missouri Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Montana Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
Nebraska Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Nevada Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
New Hampshire Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
New Jersey Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
New Mexico Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
New York Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
North Carolina Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
North Dakota Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Ohio Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Oklahoma Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Oregon Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
Pennsylvania Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Rhode Island Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
South Carolina Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
South Dakota Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
Tennessee Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Texas Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Utah Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Vermont Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
Virginia Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Washington Yes Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
West Virginia Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Wisconsin Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes
Wyoming Yes Yes Yes* Yes No Yes

* Must observe social media platform promotion guidelines.

Note: the information above is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Sweepstakes and Contest promotional laws change and the above may not reflect the must current laws.


Sources: Ala. Code 9-9-13, Alaska Stat. 11.66.280, Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-3302, Ark. Code 4-102-106, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17539.1, Colo. Rev. Stat. 6-1-803, Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-297, Contest and Sweepstakes Laws by Joy R. Butler,  Del. Code tit. 11, 1408, D.C. Code 3-1323, Fla. Stat. 849.094, Ga. Code 10-1-830, Haw. Rev. Stat. 712-1220, Idaho Stat. 18-3801, Comp. Stat. Ch. 815, Ind. Code 24-8-3-2, Iowa Code 714B, Kan. Stat, 21-6403, Ky. Rev. Stat. 365.055, L.A. Rev. Stat. 51:1721, Me. Rev. Stat. tit 17, Md. Code, Com. Law 13-305, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 271, Mich. Comp. Laws 750.372a, Minn. Stat. 325F.755, Miss. Att'y Gen. Op. no. 94-0725, Mo. Ayy'y Gen. Op. No. 70-83, Mont. Code 30-14-1403, Neb. Rev. Stat. 86-228, Nev. Rev. Stat. 598.135, N.H. Rev. Stat. 358-O, N.J Stat. 5:19 and N.J. Att'y Op. 1-1980, N.M. Code R. 12.2.2.6, N.Y. Gen. Bus 369-ee, N.C. Gen. Stat. 75-33, N.D. Att'y Gen. Op no. 98-L-132 and 98 and N.D. Cent Code 53-11-02, Ohio Rev. Code 4719.01, Okla. Stat. 21-996.1, Or. Admin. R. 137-020-0430, 73 P.S. 2241-2249, R.I. Gen. Laws 42-61-1, S.C. Code 37-15-10, S.D.C.L 37-32-1, Tenn. Code 47-18, Tex. Bus & Com 621, Utah Code 13-28-1, Vt. Stat. tit. 13 2143b, Va. Code. 59.1-415, Wash. Rev. Code 19.170.020, W. Va. 46A-6D-1, Wis. Stat. 945.01(5)(b)2, Wis. Stat. 100.171(3) (2014), Wyo. Stat, 40-12-201 (2014), Contest and Sweepstakes Laws by Joy R. Butler 

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