On September 30, 2008, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law the California Omnibus Sweepstakes Bill, Senate Bill 1400. The bill amended Section 17539.15 of the California Business and Professions Code. The objective of the bill was to prevent deceptive advertising in conjunction with the promotion of sweepstakes in California. The new sweepstakes law more closely aligns California’s sweepstakes law with the more stringent consumer protection and disclosure requirements mandated by the federal Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act and sweepstakes laws in Texas and Colorado. The bill became law on January 1, 2009.
The amendments to Section 17539.1 impose the following requirements and prohibitions:
- The “NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY” language must be set out in a separate paragraph from the rest of the official rules. In addition, the statement must be in all capital letters, in contrasting typeface, and it must be no smaller than the largest typeface used in the rest of the official rules. If the official rules are not printed on the marketing materials, then the “NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY” language must be included on the entry form.
- The date the final winners are determined must be disclosed in the official rules.
- A prohibition against charging a fee as a condition to receiving information about a sweepstakes or prize.
- A prohibition against falsely representing that a person receiving the sweepstakes offer has been specially selected.
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