Laws and Rules for Sweepstakes in Wyoming

First, it helps to understand the difference between a sweepstakes, contest and lottery. In a sweepstakes, winners are chosen randomly from all participants. In a contest, the winners’ entries are usually judged and are based on a skill or criteria. In a lottery, winners are chosen at random, but in order to enter, the participant must pay. A payment is called a consideration. Only states can hold lotteries, so all private lotteries are illegal.

To avoid being classified as an illegal lottery in any state, your promotion can only have 2 of these 3 elements: prize, chance and consideration. Keep in mind, consideration can mean anything of value, including a fee or even a significant effort (i.e., time spent shooting/submitting a photo, etc.)

Here are possible combinations:
  • Prize + consideration + chance = illegal lottery or gambling
  • Prize + consideration = legal contest (in most jurisdictions)
  • Prize + chance = legal sweepstakes

All sweepstakes in the United States must meet the following regulations:
  1. No purchase necessary. You can enter the sweepstakes without buying a product or service.
  2. Winners are required to pay taxes on prizes they win.

Sweepstakes are regulated nationally and by state by the following organizations:
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  • United States Postal Service (USPS)
  • United States Department of Justice (DOJ)

State Specific Sweepstakes & Contest Laws

Besides federal considerations, every state has its own specifics laws regarding sweepstakes and contests.

Wyoming (WY)

Wyoming holds laws regarding prize awards. If for some reason the prize offered is not available, you must provide: another prize you’ve listed of equal or greater value, the prize value in cash, check, voucher or certificate, or evidence that the prize will be shipped within 30 days at no cost.

Contests: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on skill and not chance.

Sweepstakes: are allowed as long as the sponsor awards the prize based on chance.

Prize Promotion Laws- Wyoming Promotional Advertising of Prizes

  • There are specific statutory requirements for placement, font, and wording of the prize notice disclosures.
  • In Wyoming, if the sponsor represents that a person has won or is eligible to win a prize, the sponsor may not request or accept payment from the winner before the winner receives the written prize notice.
  • Sponsors are allowed to offer a prize as part of an incentive to hear, view or attend a sales presentation but the presentation can’t begin until the sponsor tells the participant of the prize and awards it.
  • In general, it's advisable that any sponsor includes written prize notice disclosure within the Official Rules of any promotion that charges a consideration.

Legal Review Criteria: Uncertain.

Note: the information above is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Sweepstakes and Contest promotional laws change and the above may not reflect the must current laws.

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