Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
A game promotion is defined as a contest, game of chance, sweepstakes or gift enterprise conducted by an operator within or throughout the state and other states in connection with and incidental to the sale of consumer products or services and in which the elements of chance and prize are present.
Game promotions offering prizes totaling more than $5,000 must file with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) seven days prior to commencement of the game promotion. Even game promotions based in other states must be filed if they are conducted in Florida and/or are open to Florida residents and have prizes valued at more than $5,000.
In addition, a surety bond or statement of trust is required from the operator unless they have conducted game promotions in Florida for at least five consecutive years and they have had no civil, criminal or administrative actions instituted against them for a violation of Section 849.094, Florida Statutes (F.S.), during that five-year period. This protects consumers who participate by ensuring compensation if the game operator is unable to award prizes offered in the promotion.
The material terms of the rules must be published in all advertising copy. Full rules must be conspicuously posted in all outlets. Additionally, game operators must give, at no charge, a list of winners to those who request it.
A violation of the game promotion law can result in a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation, an injunction and, in some cases if appropriate, referral for criminal prosecution. In addition, a violation may constitute a deceptive and unfair trade practice actionable under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. The law does not provide for restitution if a consumer has paid money to the operator.
Frequently Asked Questions
Select a question below to expand the answer.
What is a game promotion?
According to Section 849.094, F.S., a game promotion means, but is not limited to:
- A contest, game of chance, sweepstakes, or gift enterprise conducted by an operator within or throughout the state and other states,
- Conducted in connection with and incidental to the sale of consumer products or services, and
- In which the elements of chance and prize are present.
Bingo games conducted pursuant to Section 849.0931, F.S., are not considered game promotions.
Who can run a game promotion?
A game promotion can only be operated by certain entities on a limited and occasional basis as an advertising or marketing tool in connection with and incidental to bona fide sales of consumer products or services, if no purchase is necessary to play.
Florida law defines an “operator” of a game promotion as a retailer or any person, firm, corporation, organization, or association or agent or employee thereof who promotes, operates or conducts a nationally advertised game promotion.
What makes a game promotion unlawful?
- Failing to timely file with FDACS, if required, and post the required security.
- Manipulating the game so that winners are predetermined.
- Manipulating the promotion so that winners are determined during a particular time period or geographic area.
- Arbitrarily removing, disqualifying, disallowing or rejecting entries.
- Failing to award prizes.
- Printing or circulating false, deceptive or misleading game promotion literature.
- Requiring an entry fee, payment or proof of purchase to enter.
Does FDACS certify the legality of a particular game promotion?
No. FDACS's acceptance of a game promotion filing may not be construed as an endorsement, approval or recommendation of a particular game promotion. Additionally, compliance with the rules of FDACS does not authorize and is not a defense to a charge of possession of a slot machine or any other device or a violation of any other law. To determine the legality of a particular operation, contact local law enforcement or consult with private legal counsel.
Does FDACS regulate establishments such as internet casinos, adult arcades or gaming establishments?
No, FDACS does not have regulatory authority over these entities. For more information about the legality of a particular entity, contact local law enforcement or consult with private legal counsel.
For more information about horse racing, harness horse racing, greyhound racing, jai alai games, cardroom poker games, or for information about slot machine gaming at pari-mutuel facilities in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, contact the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.