“How Do I Make My Online Contest Legal?”

Category : Contest Legal Issues, Giveaway Contests, Skill Contests

What’s a hard-workin’ Internet marketer gotta do to make an online contest legal?

Well, it depends…

To get a handle on it, let’s first list the 3 elements that make for “gambling”:

  1. Prize - something of tangible value participants can win
  2. Chance – Any element of randomness in selecting the winner(s)  (i.e., any selection process not 100% based on skill or hard logic)
  3. Consideration - Something of tangible value participants must pay (often money, but it can also be effort if there’s a lengthy task–like a long survey–required to enter)

If your contest has all 3 of these elements, you’re running an illegal lottery. The penalties for hosting gambling outside the regulations can be severe, so please take this to heart. 

Yeah, I know…

Many Internet marketers get away with all sorts of shenanigans because nobody has ever bothered to sue them–yet!  But ask yourself: Is it ever worth risking your business and livelihood for ANY promotion?

Methinks not.


How to Make Your Online Contests Legal

With that in mind, I scoured the Web for some hardcore-yet-concise, legal-yet-layman nitty-gritty info on how to keep you safe when running your online contests.  And I found it for FREE here.

online contest legal

It’s a recorded webinar hosted by Andrew Lustigman and Adam Solomon at the Lustigman Firm in New York, which not only specializes in offline sweepstakes law but online contest legal issues too.

Here are just some of the complex questions they answer in plain English…

  • What exactly is considered “consideration”?  What’s generally not?
  • What are the major pitfalls with skill contests–and how do you route around them?
  • Can you ever use a coin toss or other random draw as a tiebreaker in a skill contest?
  • Which states, provinces and countries require filing special paperwork and/or paying fees to run any sort of giveaway contest?  And what 3-word phrase offers you instant immunity?
  • How do you make sure nobody questions how you selected the winner?  (They share an example of a multi-BILLION-dollar company whose $1,000,000+ contest was sabotaged internally by the guy overseeing contest security!)
  • What copyright issues can clog up a contest requiring user-generated content?
  • What if you don’t get entries?  Is there any way to legally extend the contest end date?
  • Is it okay to have participants say something about your competitors you couldn’t say yourself?
  • What 4 requirements must you meet to have a paid way of entering your contest?

…and plenty more good stuff to legally shield your booty, so you can shake it all the way to the bank.

But no worries if you don’t have the 1 hour, 15 minutes to watch this presentation, or the 2-3 hours and bottle of ibuprofen it’d take to cramp down to write detailed notes yourself.  I’ve already mindmapped out the important nuggets for you:

online contest legal

Click the mindmap for a full-scale version you can swipe straight-up from me.  It’s okay…go ahead.  You’ve got permission. :-)

To avoiding legal limbo in your online contests,

Sunni Sukumar


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