• New York Attorney General Settles with Major Corporation over the Equal Availability of the Free Method of Entry in an Instant Win Game
  • August 10, 2008
  • Law Firm: Winston & Strawn LLP - Chicago Office
  • In late June 2008, a major corporation reached a settlement with the New York Attorney General's office to settle claims that the company did not comply with New York prize promotion laws by failing to make the free method of obtaining a game card equally available to the purchase method of obtaining a game card in an instant win game. As a result of the settlement, the corporation agreed to pay $245,000.

    This instant win game offered consumers a scratch-off card to those who purchased services from the corporation and also offered a free method of obtaining a game card via mail. However, the New York Attorney General claimed that the corporation did not post the rules regarding how to obtain a game card for free at all retail locations (where the purchase method of entry took place), and the corporation did not include information on how to obtain a free game card in the game's advertising.  Instead, the company's television, radio, and print advertisements only announced that consumers had the ability to play if they had services provided by the company, and directed consumers to the corporation's  local offices or the corporation's Web site  for more information "on how to get a free game card."

    TIP: The New York Attorney General believes that the free method of entry in a prize promotion must not only be present in the official rules, but it must be equally available such that consumers are made aware of the free method of entry on an equivalent level to which they are made aware of the purchase method of entry. New York law also requires posting of official rules at all retail locations in which a promotion is being conducted.