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.)
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
Prize Promotion Laws- Oklahoma Commercial Telephone Solicitation Laws
Legal Review Criteria: Material Element Test when assessing whether or not chance determines the outcome of a promotion.
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.