Can I extend promotional period for sweepstakes before it ends? 11 Answers as of October 11, 2012

I am administering a sweepstakes promotion for my company, and we want to extend the end date of the promotion by 2 weeks. However, in our terms and conditions/official rules, we specifically state that the promo will end on 10/8/2012, without giving ourselves the loophole to "reserve the right to change/modify the official rules at any time for any reason". How can we extend the sweepstakes without causing too much complication?

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Entertainment Law Partners
Entertainment Law Partners | Tifanie Jodeh
Sweepstakes rules vary greatly from state to state. Generally, the sweepstakes rules govern the contractual relationship between you and the entree. Changing the rules arbitrarily creates a breach in this contractual relationship and may expose you to claims.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/9/2012
David F. Stoddard
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
You can't. I'm lawyer and I cannot say what the legal ramifications are if you extend the sweepstakes. However, if you extend the sweepstakes, you incur whatever complications arise. The only way to avoid these complications is to refrain from extending the sweepstakes. If you want some insurance against legal liability, pay for an attorney to give you an opinion letter that there will be no liability. Then, if there is any legal liability, the attorney will be liable to your company. You mentioned "complications' which may involve other matters than legal liability, such as dealing with disgruntled sweepstakes entrants. This is a complication you cannot avoid. You can only deal with it. As far as legal liability, I do not see a significant probability for legal liability. It seems to me that a person would have to prove that he/she would have won had the sweepstakes not been extended. I cannot guarantee this, however.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 10/8/2012
Lawyer for Indie Media
Lawyer for Indie Media | Sue Basko
Illinois has more laws about sweepstakes than you can possibly imagine. In Illinois, most games of chance are either illegal or highly regulated. To answer your question, I would need to know exactly what kind of company you work for and what it does or sells, and what the sweepstakes is all about. What exactly do you mean by "sweepstakes"? The chance that your company is running a legal sweepstakes in Illinois, in any case, is highly unlikely, because the laws are so very detailed.

In Illinois, there are laws for sweepstakes run by natural gas companies, campground companies, any company that sells via catalogues, horse breeding companies, telecommunications companies, in addition to special rules for bingo, pull-tab games, raffles, casinos, and carnivals. Even if your sweepstakes is being run legally, one of the main rules on most sweepstakes laws is notification of the end date at the time the contest is advertised or participants are solicited. It is not likely you'd be able to change the end date and comport with any rules. Other laws that come into play are laws regarding truth in advertising. The penalties for running an illegal sweepstakes in Illinois are quite extreme, and therefore, if you ever plan to run such a thing again, consult with a lawyer first. If you still want to change the end date, hurry to a lawyer. You should never have set up a sweepstakes or game of chance without first consulting a lawyer.

Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 10/8/2012
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
No, you established a contract between your contestants and yourself, clearly stating the terms. you cannot now change the rules.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 10/8/2012
Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
Just extend it. Shortening it might cause problems.
Answer Applies to: Montana
Replied: 10/8/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    If you break the rules you risk being so accused by anyone who plays by the rules. What is wrong with the old Judeo Christian ethic of playing by the rules You have been wtching the present political establishment on TV too much. A rule is a rule is a rule.and rules are made to follow
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    Lawyer for Independent Media
    Lawyer for Independent Media | Sue Basko
    I think if you change the date, your original materials will be in violation of California Business and Professions Code Section 17539.5 (j), which states, "The official rules for a sweepstakes shall disclose information about the date or dates the final winner or winners will be determined."If you contact me, I may be able to take your company on as a client to work on this.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/8/2012
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
    Legally, your best course of action might be to abide by the terms of your own terms and conditions.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/11/2012
    Hirsch, Closson, McMillan & Schroeder, APLC
    Hirsch, Closson, McMillan & Schroeder, APLC | Paul Schroeder
    To answer this question I would need to see your rules and get some more details on the nature of the sweepstakes, what the prizes are and how they are won. I would also want to know how many people have entered, so we could determine if it would be practical to change the rules and notify everyone who entered of the new rules.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/8/2012
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