Implications of Not Registering a Sweepstakes in Florida
If your promotion is less than 30 days from launching, you can panic a little bit. You can still get it done, but you will need to ensure that all paperwork is filed and in place seven days prior to the start date.
Keep in mind: Florida has some of the strictest laws when it comes to sweepstakes. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which enforces these laws, has an active department of people that will follow up if they find a sweepstakes that is not registered, or if they find that a registered sweepstakes:
- Was not registered with their department on time,
- Did not have a surety bond in place or a waiver secured,
- Manipulated the promotion in any way,
- Changed the rules mid-stream,
- Printed or circulated misleading promotion materials,
- Failed to file complete winner information (with full addresses of winners) in a timely manner at the conclusion of the promotion.
If you don’t abide by their guidelines any of the following could happen:
Fines can range in the hundreds to thousands of dollars range, depending on how egregious the issue.
2. Your company could lose its waiver status.
Forgetting to file a winners list could result in your company losing waiver status, and requiring that bonds be set up for all future promotions – for all departments in your company, not just yours.
3. Legal action.
The state of Florida can take legal action against your company (or you!), with civil penalties of up to $1,000 for each issue, and/or criminal charges that amount to a second degree misdemeanor with potential for prison time plus fines and legal fees.
The bottom line is to do your homework and follow the law to the letter if you run a sweepstakes in Florida. Contact us if you need any assistance or if you have questions.
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