Effective April 10, 2013, the following changes were made to the Game Promotion Statute:
• The legislature expressed its intent that Section 849.094, Florida Statutes, was enacted to regulate certain game promotions or sweepstakes conducted by for-profit commercial entities on a limited and occasional basis as an advertising and marketing tool and incidental to substantial bona fide sales of consumer products or services.
• Charitable organizations may not operate a game promotion.
• An “operator” of a game promotion means a “retailer who operates a game promotion or any person, firm, corporation, organization, or association or agent or employee thereof who promotes, operates, or conducts a nationally advertised game promotion.”
• Importantly, compliance with the rules of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services does not authorize and is not a defense to a charge of possession of a slot machine or device or any other device or a violation of any other law.
• A violation of section 849.094, Florida Statutes, or soliciting another to commit an act that violates the section, constitutes a deceptive and unfair trade practice actionable under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
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 department seven days prior to commencement. 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 849.049, Florida Statutes, 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.
- s. 849.094, Florida Statutes (F.S.)
- Chapter 5J-14, Florida Administrative Code
On the FAC site, please select "latest version" to view the rules
What is a game promotion?
According to section 849.094, Florida Statutes, 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, Florida Statutes 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.
Can charities run a game promotion?
Charities may not operate a game promotion. Certain types of non-profit entities may operate a “drawing by chance” or “raffle” as defined by section 849.0935, F.S. Additionally, certain charitable, non-profit or veterans’ organizations can operate a “bingo game” as defined by section 849.0931, F.S.
What makes a Game Promotion unlawful?
- Failing to timely file with the department, 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 the department certify the legality of a particular game promotion?
No. The department’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 the department 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 the department regulate establishments such as internet casinos, adult arcades or gaming establishments?
No, the department 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 Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.
If you have any questions, please contact us:
1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) Calling from Florida
850-410-3800 Calling from outside of Florida
Terry Rhodes Building
2005 Apalachee Parkway
Tallahassee, FL 32399-6500
Map to the office
- Florida Department of Revenue
- Florida Department of State
- Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering