Every state has its own laws and regulations governing how sweepstakes should be run and how rewards can be advertised and distributed. If you are running sweepstakes in a particular state, it is vital to be aware of the regulations covering sweepstakes, and up to date with any changes that might have been made.
The popularity of sweepstakes
Sweepstakes are quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of online gambling – players can enjoy the prospect of cash winnings and the excitement of building cash pools. Online sweepstakes casinos as shown at https://www.casinotopsonline.com/sweepstakes-casinos are especially popular because of the variety of different games that can be played online sweepstakes, such as Alight Reels, Dynasty of RA, Totally Wild, and Immortal Romance.
At present, sweepstakes can only be played in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and Ireland, but they are becoming increasingly popular and it is possible that other countries around the world will begin reconsidering their regulation of sweepstakes as the demand grows.
Registration and bonding in New York
Depending on the type of sweepstakes you want to run, you may have to take extra steps to ensure that you are complying with New York State’s specific regulations, such as bonding and registration. New York, Florida, and Rhode Island all require organizers running sweepstakes to register and bond the sweepstakes if the prize value of the sweepstakes exceeds a specified value.
Registering your sweepstakes entails that you inform the state of your sweepstakes in writing. Bonding your sweepstakes means that you are certifying that, as the organizer of the sweepstakes, you have the financial backing to actually give out the winnings once the prize has been awarded. A Game of Chance bond, or GOC bond, is just one such guarantee.
In New York, the maximum sweepstakes prize you can offer without registering your sweepstakes is $5,000, and the sweepstakes need to be registered and bonded at least 30 days before the sweepstakes starts.
Avoiding bonding and registration
In New York, there are two different ways in which to avoid bonding and registration for your sweepstakes. One way is to ensure that the total approximate retail value, or ARV, of the prize, is less than $5,000, which is the minimum for bonding. Alternatively, you could exclude all New York State residents from your sweepstakes – but this is most likely contrary to the purpose of the sweepstakes in the first place.
If you have chosen to take steps to avoid bonding and registering your sweepstakes, there are still a few other measures you will need to implement. According to New York State law, you will still need to include in your sweepstakes rules information regarding the minimum number of prizes that can be won over a specific span of time and in a specific geographical location, and the value of the prizes.
Certification of winners
After someone has won the sweepstakes, your work is still not over. After someone has won a prize or a sweepstake has been completed, you need to create a list of the names and addresses of every winner of the sweepstakes who took home a prize valued at more than $25 ARV. The list should also include the dates of the winnings and descriptions of the prizes that were won.
Once this list is completed, it needs to be filed with the state – which should be done within 90 days of the sweepstakes completing.
Keeping consumers safe
You might be wondering why the state imposes all of these regulations on sweepstakes. Unfortunately, not all sweepstakes are legitimate and some bad actors use the guise of sweepstakes winnings to take money from unwitting individuals.
The Attorney General’s Office of New York State warns of the potential for fraud with sweepstakes and giveaways. In their warning, the office notes that consumers should be aware of emails, calls, and letters that announce out of the blue that you have won a huge sweepstake, and caution that if you think something is too good to be true, it probably is not true.
In order to avoid fraud, the office states that consumers should be cautious of claims of awards and prizes, should be skeptical of letters and correspondence that claim to be “urgent” or “official” and should avoid prize awards that require you to first send money to cover the cost of tax or postage.
Individuals should also think critically and not be swayed by celebrity endorsements that could be fake or paid for and they should not give out sensitive information such as credit card, bank account, or social security numbers.