Liz kindly agreed to an interview, and
told us about her journalism background, her role in
Florida's job creation efforts, and the strangest sweepstakes
she's ever encountered: A promotion for a New York-style
Today in our discussion with Liz, we tackle some real
sweepstakes issues encountered by companies across the country who
register their promotions in Florida.
Dale Joerling: If, for whatever
reason, a sponsor does not register a sweepstakes that is required
to be registered in Florida, what should it do if:
a. The sweepstakes has not begun, but the deadline
for filing the registration has passed;
b. The sweepstakes has begun and is underway but no winners
have been selected; and,
c. The sweepstakes is over, the winners have been selected and
the prizes delivered?
Liz Compton: In
all instances, you must file a registration. Penalties will
be assessed for late filings.
Joerling: What should a sponsor do if the actual value
of a prize was estimated to be under $5,000 but turns out (after
the sweepstakes is over) to exceed $5,000 and the sweepstakes has
not been registered in Florida?
Liz Compton: If
the prize amount adds up to more than $5,000 they have to register
with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
If they don't register seven days in advance of the start of
the sweepstakes, they are subject to penalties. Sweepstakes with
prizes close to $5,000 that could go over should err on the side of
caution and register with the department.
Joerling: What are the most common mistakes made by
those registering sweepstakes in Florida?
The number one occurrence is not filing in a timely manner. Another
issue we see is not properly identifying the promotion's
Joerling: How do you define "operator"? How do
sweepstakes registrants fail to properly identify the operator? Can
you give an example?
Liz Compton: An
"operator" is any person, firm, corporation, or
association or agent or employee thereof who promotes, operates, or
conducts a game promotion, except any charitable nonprofit
organization. The operator noted in the rules is not always
the operator noted on all other filing documents (application and
financial security). Here's a few examples of the operator not
being properly identified on the filing documents: The promoter
will list their company as the operator, a subsidiary of the
operator would be listed as operator, or an entirely different
company not mentioned in the rules as operator would be noted on
all other filing documents.
Joerling: If a 12-month sweepstakes has a drawing
every month from all accumulated entries (i.e. entries that were
received from the beginning of the promotion) and the prize is
$1,000 at each drawing, must it be registered in Florida? Or are
these drawings considered separate sweepstakes that do not meet the
dollar amount of the registration threshold?
Liz Compton: If your monthly entries are included in all
subsequent drawings, this would be considered one promotion and one
filing would need to be provided. The total of all prizes for each
month must be added together for all months to arrive at the grand
total. Based on the $1,000 prize example, you would need to file
one promotion valued at $12,000.
Joerling: What about monthly drawings from only from
the entries received during each month of the
If your monthly entries are not included in any subsequent
drawings, each month would be considered a separate promotion.
Filing would be required for only those months in which the total
of all prizes offered exceeds $5,000. Based on your example,
filings would not be required since there are no months during
which the prize total exceeds $5,000.
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