On April 10, 2013, Florida revised several provisions of its game promotion statute, which will likely change how for-profit brands and non-profit entities offer contests and sweepstakes within the State and to its residents. In particular, these revisions include:
• A game promotion can only be operated by a for-profit organization on a limited and occasional basis as an advertising or marketing tool in connection with and incidental to bona fide sales of consumer products or services, if no purchase is necessary to play; and
• Non-profit entities and charitable organizations cannot operate a game promotion.
While the statute appears to exclude all non-profit organizations and does not clearly define what constitutes a “limited and occasional basis” for purposes of acceptable promotions conducted by for-profit organizations, it may be best to proceed with caution until the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (“Florida Department”) provides further guidance.
On the flip side, Florida still requires registration and bonding with the Florida Department at least seven (7) days prior to the start date for sweepstakes offering prizes over $5,000. Further, Florida still requires that the full Official Rules are clearly posted in all retail outlets, material terms are published in all advertising, winners list are available by request at no charge, and that sponsors file a list of all winners with the Florida Department for prizes more than $25 within sixty (60) days after the winners are selected.
For violations, Florida may impose a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation, an injunction, and/or referral for criminal prosecution (in rare cases).
For more information about Florida’s revised game promotion law or other advertising and promotions issues, please contact Radiance Harris or your DLA Piper attorney.