No Purchase Necessary. We see this infamous clause on every legal sweepstakes in America. Who decided on this clause? Or to be more to the point, who decided that is was needed in the first place? Ok, I know the story. The fear was that sweepstakes were at risk of becoming lotteries. Someone had to protect the consumer from being swindled so the states volunteered. Let’s forget the fact that states were running the only legal lotteries around and perhaps wanted to protect their territory. But why is a sweepstakes that requires purchase for entry treated as a lottery? When breaking down the definition, a lottery is buying a random chance at winning a prize, without gaining any other inherent value. But when a consumer is buying a product, the consumer gets the product. The sweepstakes entry is a bonus to that purchase. The consumer is not paying extra for a product to get the chance to win a prize. The consumer pays the same amount for the product as anyone else. Consumers are not forced to enter the sweepstakes, nor are marketers charging a tax on purchase for the chance. So then what is the real fear? Who are we protecting? I see nothing different than asking a consumer to buy a product to get another free (BOGO) than asking them to buy a product to get a chance at winning a prize. They are both bonuses to purchase.
The regulation causes nothing but more coordination, more management, more cost, longer rules and incredible communication issues. Must we confuse the consumer with complicated messaging filled with alternatives to protect them? Let’s change the mandate and let freedom ring.