Is "No Purchase Necesscary" the law?

All contests that I have seen always have an address where you can enter the contest without buying the product…for example let’s say product x is having a contest where you can win 10’000 dollars by buying their stuff but you could also send in for a game piece without purchasing product x. Is that the law?
and have you ever entered a contest without purchasing the product?

Yes it has to do with gambling and lottery laws. Certain non-profits are exempt from these laws. But any kind of “buy this and you might win” games are gambling. Raffle tickets are a form of lottery ticket. If the proceeds are going to a for-profit organization, they must allow participants to enter without buying anything.

I help run the pledge drives for a radio show, and whenever we hold a drawing for a CD or something we have to make it clear that they don’t have to pledge to enter. As noted above, to do so would make it gambling.

. . . for a radio station

In order for something to be considered gambling it has to contain 3 elements: Chance, prize, consideration (you have to pay to play). Eliminate any one, and the element of gambling is gone. If the contest relies on chance, and has a prize, but you don’t have to pay to play, then it’s not gambling.

er, so, if I was an asshole, could I goto charity raffles and insist I get a ticket for free?
What about those carnival games? Or are those considered a game of skill?

And has anyone won a major prize by sending in and having a ‘carton opened for them’?

(a) No, because those charities, if they take the proper steps under the law that applies to non-profits, are exempt.

(b) Right. Games of skill.

To get round the law some TV stations add an element of “skill” into the game . So they insert a question such as *" who wrote Beethoven’s 9th symphony . Was * it (a) Chopin , (b) Beethoven or (c ) Grieg ? " . Or *" What is the * *capital of Italy is it ( A ) Madrid ( B ) Paris or ( C ) Rome ? "*As you can see there is no actual skill involved but it does get round the law. Even then I expect there are a few wrong answers. Most of these contests are via a premium rate phone number and the TV channels just rake the profits in.

If the charity has the proper paper work (in some states they get issued a permit called an “R” number) then they can legally hold gambling and you would indeed be out of line insisting on a freebie.

Carnival games are supposed to be games of skill, thus not gambling. Every year my department sends a detective through the mid-way of the fair to determine if all the games meet the standard. They usually do EXCEPT one: The duck derby.
This is that kiddy game where there are several rubber ducks floating on a pool of water. You pick a duck and look underneath it to see what prize you one (large or small). The problem is, this is an illegal lottery because it has all 3 elements of gambling (chance, prize, consideration). The way to subtract the gambling aspect is for the vendor to place a mirror on the bottom of the pool. That way, the player can use the submerged, backward image to try to determine which duck has a large prize. That turns it into a game of skill and viola: it’s no longer an illegal lottery.
But it is a lot of legaleze for a kids game in which all you usually get is a plastic whistle!:stuck_out_tongue:

And don’t think we didn’t doublecheck our contests and promos against the “three legs of a lottery” rule.

We did once have to remind a competing station that their “prize patrol” was perfectly free to hand out prizes to people driving cars sporting the station’s (free) window sticker, but a no-no to do the same thing to people they spotted wearing their t-shirts (which the listeners had to buy).

That’s been nearly 20 years ago, though, so the FCC, in it’s rush to deregulate, may have loosened things somewhat.