In addition to legal risks, serious public-relations problems can result from a poorly administered contest, particularly in online social environments.For example, Malibu Caribbean Rum faced an uproar of conspiracy theories and complaints on You Tube message boards after the company announced the winner of its user-generated advertising contest earlier than required by its rules, and advertised conflicting and inaccurate descriptions of its judging process.If your contest involves user-generated content, such as photos, videos or short stories, the rules must contain specific language granting you the necessary rights and licenses to use the content.You may want the content for marketing purposes, such as featuring winners in a post-contest event or newsletter, or using the winner's submission as part of a future public-service announcement.One relatively easy solution to the "illegal lottery" problem is to make the contest one of skill, rather than chance.For example, if your company wants to encourage Twitter users to re-tweet information about a company promotion or event, you might consider a skill-based contest where the most creative and original re-tweet wins the prize.Sweepstakes begins at AM ET on 9/22/17 and ends at PM ET on 5/31/18.Click here for Official Rules and complete details including how to enter, free method of entry instructions, entry period dates, prize details, and restrictions.
This means that, in the majority of states, any condition to entry (other than filling out a simple entry form) turns your contest into an illegal game of chance.
You should obtain a liability and publicity release from every individual who appears in the photos or videos that are displayed on your website.
The official rules should prohibit content that is defamatory, obscene, inappropriate, or contains content owned by a third party.
Many states have minimum-age requirements for contests.
Some companies successfully employ age-screening mechanisms (such as a timed cookie) to prevent entrants from hitting the "back" button to change their age.