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Date: Saturday, April 1, 2000 
Question/Topic: Contests void in Florida. Internet sweepstakes. 
Answer/Pointer: We receive questions on this particular topic quite often. The St. Pete Times (Feb. 24, 1998 edition) had a good article which explains why some sweepstakes and contests are void in Florida. I'll copy and paste this for you below. ____________ February 24, 1998 Series: ACTION Florida has strict sweepstakes rules By NANCY PARADIS Section: FLORIDIAN Edition: 0 SOUTH PINELLAS Page: 2D Estimated Printed Pages: 3 Index Terms: COLUMN Article Text: I was surfing the Internet recently and looked at some sweepstakes offered there. I noticed that a large percentage of the sweepstakes and contests are void to Florida residents. Is this because we have the lottery? If not, why are Florida residents prevented from playing these sweepstakes? Rich Whittle Response: After speaking with the Florida Department of State Division of Licensing, which handles sweepstakes registration, and also several sweepstakes sponsors, here's your answer, and it has nothing to do with the lottery. It is a violation of Florida statute 849.094 (e) to require an entry fee, payment or proof of purchase as a condition of entering a sweepstakes. Since accessing the Internet is considered a cost, any sweepstakes you found there that does not offer an alternate means of entry, such as sending a card or calling a toll-free number, is illegal in Florida. That takes care of some of the sweepstakes you found on the Net. Florida law also requires that sweepstakes' sponsors fill out a form and pay a $100 fee to register with the state seven days before the start of the contest. The sponsors also must post a surety bond or establish a trust account for the value of the prizes being offered. Not all sponsors can or want to comply with these requirements. As you surfed the sweepstakes' offerings on the Net, you may have noticed that many that are void in Florida are also void in New York and Rhode Island. These two states also have more stringent requirements for sweepstakes sponsors. ___________ If you would like to read the Florida Statutes on this, you can find them online at: From here click on 1999 Florida Statutes (Full Volume). Then click on TITLE XLVI. Then click on Chapter 849 - Gambling. Then click on Chapter 849.094. 
Librarian: SLF 

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