International Sweepstakes & Contest Laws That May Cause You Problems


international sweepstakes & contest lawsIf you think that sweepstakes laws can be confusing and expensive to adhere to in the US, wait till you check out these unique international sweepstakes & contest laws in other countries.

Canada: When running a promotion in Quebec all materials must be available in English AND French. This includes rules, promotional ads, posters, entry forms, web sites, etc. And when you run a sweeps all winners must pass a basic skill test (usually a math problem) to claim their prize. See our previous blog post for more information on this.

Mexico: In Mexico, any prize exceeding approximately US$5,000 has to be delivered in the presence of the Mexican authorities.

Brazil: In Brazil, you can’t award cash as a prize. UPDATE AUGUST 2015: Brazil recently revised their position on contests. Contests/promotions are now prohibited unless permission is obtained from the Ministry of Finance in Brazil and there is not a standard practice for submitting promotions for potential approval at this time. Please contact us if you have an interest in running a promotion in Brazil.

France: In France, ANY participants in your promotion can claim the cost of Internet or postage that they paid to enter your promotion. Which means if you have thousands of mail-in entries and they all want to be reimbursed for postage, you may compromise your budget.

Sweden: In Sweden, most games of chance (sweepstakes and instant wins) are banned — unless they are simple social giveaways involving non-cash or cash equivalent prizes (UPDATED JANUARY 2019). Games of skill (contests) are allowed, though!

Ireland: In Ireland, all games of chance (sweepstakes and instant wins) requiring purchase are banned unless a sponsor is a non-profit charity.

Italy: In Italy, you must have your promotion registered, bonded, and have your rules reviewed by Italian counsel – plus you must involve a public official in winner selection. As if that were not cost prohibitive enough, you must also collect all of your sweepstakes data in Italy.

Netherlands: According to Dutch law, an individual may not receive more than 2,500 Euros in total prizes. And the total amount of prizes for an entire promotion prize pool cannot exceed 100,000 Euros.

Russia: Maintaining publicity rights in perpetuity is not possible in Russia. This means that the rights to use any user generated content (photos, essays, videos, etc.) you collect in conjunction with a promotion will need to be negotiated if you plan on using the content.

Taiwan: In Taiwan, your grand prize can’t be more that 120 times the basic monthly wages set by the Council of Labor Affairs under the Executive Yuan (Cabinet). As of July 1, 2014 this amount is set at NT$19,273 (approximately US$640) per month, so don’t let your grand prize go over NT$2,312,760 (approximately US$76,800).

If you plan on running an international promotion, call us at 516-365-3999 to help you so you don’t accidentally violate international laws.

To read more posts by Marden-Kane, please visit our main blog page or subscribe to our email list.