Posts Tagged: Prizes

Sweepers – Trying to Clean Up with Sweepstakes Prizes

By rough estimate there are over 20,000 people out there who devote their livelihood to extreme “sweepstaking.” These dedicated denizens of the promotion world scour the Internet and newsletters in search of fame and fortune. They go by monikers such as “Mr. Sweepy” and “Grand Master Sweeper.” Statistics show that your average “sweeper” is a middle-aged Caucasian woman, with no kids and no college education. (Insert comment here.) They can submit hundreds of entries per day and they are personal friends with the postman (because they spend thousands of dollars on postage). Some limit entries to useful or valuable prizes (like the “four C’s – cars, cruises, computers and cash), while others are just happy to win a lamp in the shape of a woman’s leg, à la A Christmas Story. But despite their tenacity, they only have a winning rate of much less than 1%.

Sweepers are good for the sweepstakes industry. Sweepers read and follow the rules. Sweepers can drive traffic to your website – against their self-interest, they typically let their sweeper friends know about good promotions. And sweepers may actually end up buying your product. (more…)

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What’s a Prize? Illinois Federal Court Holds In-App Purchases for a Chance to Win Enhanced Game Play Is Not Illegal Gambling

Recently, the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed a putative class action lawsuit claiming that the online game Castle Clash involved illegal gambling because players could make in-app purchases to win “Heroes”, “gems”, “shards” and “Honor Badges” to enhance their gaming experience.

I think I got this right: In Castle Clash, players amass armies of “Heroes” to do battle against one another. During play, the players collect “shards” – a type of virtual currency – in the game’s “dungeon” and can use these shards to obtain new Heroes from the “Hero Shop”. Also, when a player downloads the game, she is provided with some “gems” to use to make in-app “purchases” within the game to enhance play. Players can amass more gems by buying them, with prices ranging from $1.99 to $99.99. A player can collect Heroes without using her shards by purchasing gems to enter a “Talent Roll” where Heroes are awarded randomly (with a lesser chance of winning better Heroes). There are also in-app events where players with a lot of gems are awarded rare Heroes. The Heroes cannot be redeemed for cash.

To put it simply, you can pay for a better chance to win thingies that make your game play that much more thrilling. (more…)

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You Lost the Race, But You May Have Hit the Lottery: NY Road Runners’ Illegal Lottery Lawsuit

What is it with New York these days; it’s a boon for promotion lawyers. First, the Attorney General says daily fantasy sports are illegal gambling and now disgruntled marathoners are claiming that the organizers of the NYC Marathon run an illegal lottery. On January 21, 2016, two guys from Utah filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York for a class action against the New York Road Runners, Inc. alleging that from 2010-2015 the Road Roaders ran an illegal lottery because some potential entrants had to pay an $11 processing fee to be entered into a drawing to compete in the Marathon. (See Complaint at http://thetmca.com/files/2016/01/16-cv-00450-Document-1-3.pdf )

For those of us without “26.2” stickers in our car windows, the runners tell us that because there are only a limited number of spots, people can enter the Marathon either by donating time or money to a charity, winning a qualifying race, or by the “Lottery”. The odds of getting picked in 2015 were less than 1:5. Unfortunately, Messrs. Konopa and Clark (the plaintiffs) didn’t win. So, instead of doing what most people would do – train harder – they did what makes this country of ours so litigious great, they sued. (more…)

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Show Me the Money – When Taxes Can Turn Your Dream Home Into a Nightmare

It’s that time of year again, the 20th annual HGTV Dream Home 2016 Sweepstakes began December 29th. As the sponsor of this promotion has recognized, winning a mansion could put you in the dog house when you are socked with a hefty tax bill. I’ve written about this issue of the tax consequences of giving away expensive prizes in an article published in the Connecticut Post.

To avoid cooking Ramen noodles and mac and cheese on your brand-new Thermador® 36 inch Professional Series Pro Harmony standard depth dual fuel range (i.e., “oven”), you have the option of taking $900,000 instead so that your dream home doesn’t become a financial nightmare. (more…)

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I’m About to Deliver on 1/1/16 – Where Can I Get the Best Prizes?

On December 22, in my blog on the Miss Universe debacle, I related the story of the mother of baby Yuki Lin who was awarded $25,000 for giving birth at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day 2007 after temper tantrums arose over the fairness of the contest. I got to wondering, have these types of contests gone the way of the cloth diaper and candy cigarettes? Thankfully, no.

Here are just a few examples of what can you win if first sound you hear after the ball drops is a magical, shrill “I’m here” from your bouncing baby. (more…)

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And the Winner Is…

It’s now viral. Even if you had no interest in watching women get judged based upon how they look in swimwear (athletically speaking, of course), you know that on Sunday Steve Harvey announced Miss Colombia (the country, not Columbia the university, Steve) the winner of the Miss Universe Pageant and then minutes later, apologized and named Miss Philippines the winner. Was this the right thing to do? Donald Trump doesn’t think so; he wants both contestants to be named Miss Universe.

Let’s not forget that underneath it all the Miss Universe Pageant is a contest – with judges, judging criteria and rules. Like all contests, the rules control as a legal matter, but as a practical matter keeping positive public opinion is important. (more…)

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