Friday, August 29, 2008

. . . not as I do

So we’re trying to work up a promotion for a client and we’re thinking that if you buy one of their products, you can qualify for a drawing and maybe win a big prize. No can do, says state law in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

So they modified it. Still, no can do in Virginia or Maryland.

Apparently (and my guess is that everybody on the planet but us knew this) it’s illegal to have anything where there is an element of chance and you have to buy something to participate and there is a prize if you win. Consideration, chance and prize. No good. Baaaaad. Evil. Something the state has to protect us against.

Unless, of course, it’s a state-run lottery, Keno or slot machines.

I saw an article not long ago about offshore gambling and one guy compared betting on a football game to buying a lottery ticket. Bet on a football game straight up and you have a 50/50 chance of winning. Buy a lottery ticket and your chances are 1 in a zillion and not only did the state pay for the promotion with your tax dollars, but also it will tax you on whatever you win.

It’s against the law to have a simple contest to encourage someone to do legitimate business with you, but it’s perfectly OK to have state-run games of chance, like all the unemployed guys at the convenience store downstairs from our office squander their limited money on all day long.

Don’t you just love the government? So logical. Such common sense.

1 comment:

paul said...

Usually all you need to do is apply for a permit, and ensure that you the prize in-hand and waiting before the contest starts. Other rules allow you to run a contest with a permit provided you have a non-purchase method of entry. Lastly you may also be able to qualify with a "door prize" where the only eligibility requirement is that you were there before the cut-off. This usually applies to "One of the first 250 customers will get..." That's not officially a contest.