New Virginia Law Regulates Promotions

On May 21, 2010, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell signed into law a gambling bill that also regulates games, contests, and other promotions. The law provides that companies sponsoring promotions must meet the following requirements: (1) consumers may not be asked to pay any money to participate, other than to purchase a product; (2) consumers must also be able to participate for free; and (3) consumers who play for free must have equal chances of winning as consumers who make a purchase, if applicable.

Companies must make various disclosures in official rules for the promotion, all of which are fairly standard. In addition to the disclosures required in rules, all advertisements for promotions must also include the following disclosures: (1) the name of the sponsor; (2) a statement that no purchase is necessary; (3) the start and end dates; (4) the eligibility requirements; and (5) a disclosure of where the promotion is void.

The law goes into effect July 1, 2010.