Dale Joerling

Dale Joerling

Thompson Coburn LLP

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Latest Publications


Big sweepstakes scam artists don’t cry

According to the Edmonton Sun newspaper, Nigerian-born Richard Mmah Chukwu, a resident of Edmonton, was recently convicted of implementing a multi-million dollar sweepstakes scam. Chukwu was found guilty in the Canadian...more

7/15/2015 - Canada Convictions DNA Mail Fraud Money Laundering Scams Sweepstakes

Department of Justice penalizes Ironman for illegal sweepstakes

I have never understood why otherwise sane people would want to enter an Ironman triathlon. An Ironman requires you to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and then run a 26.2 marathon, all within 17 hours. It’s hard to believe,...more

6/3/2015 - DOJ Enforcement Enforcement Actions Sports Sweepstakes

Five tips for ‘Mega Sponsors’ of sweepstakes and contests

Over the past 18 years, I have been very fortunate to represent several of what I call “Mega Sponsors” of sweepstakes and contests. My definition of a Mega Sponsor is a company that sponsors more than 50 sweepstakes or...more

4/28/2015 - Contests & Promotions Sweepstakes

Read this before you co-sponsor a sweepstakes or contest

Quite often a company will see an opportunity to team with another company to create a sweepstakes or contest that will benefit both of them individually. For example, a manufacturer of insect repellent and the owner of a...more

2/23/2015 - Gaming Marketing Popular Sweepstakes

FTC obtains $9.5 million judgment against fraudulent sweepstakes operators

On February 11, 2015 the Federal Trade Commission announced that it had accepted a $9.5 million settlement in a case brought against a sweepstakes operator for violating a previous FTC order. The settlement also permanently...more

2/16/2015 - Advertising Contests & Promotions False Advertising FTC Prizes Sweepstakes

Sweepstakes random drawings: Things a sponsor should know

I am often asked how random drawings should be conducted to select the winners of a sweepstakes. It sounds like a fairly simple request, but like most legal questions, “it depends.” For random drawings, it depends on the type...more

1/16/2015 - Contests & Promotions Sponsors Sweepstakes

Social media sweepstakes: 10 things you should know

“How did we have sweepstakes before Facebook?” That question, which I heard during a call last week, summarizes the tremendous impact that social media has had on the use of sweepstakes and contests. These promotions are more...more

12/23/2014 - Advertising Contests & Promotions COPPA Data Collection Facebook Personally Identifiable Information Privacy Laws Social Media Social Networks Sweepstakes

Sweepstakes bonds 101: An interview with a bond broker

One little-understood aspect of sweepstakes law are surety bonds, which are required to conduct sweepstakes in New York and Florida. For more insight on why sweepstakes sponsors need bonds and how the bonding process works, I...more

10/27/2014 - Bonds Performance Bonds Sweepstakes

7 important lessons from past FCC contest cases

The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has brought a number of cases against broadcasters who conduct or advertise a contest on air. These cases range from failure to accurately disclose the end date for a sweepstakes, to a station’s...more

8/11/2014 - Compliance Contests & Promotions Enforcement FCC Sweepstakes

The FCC’s contest regulations: A primer

Our recent post about the possibility that the Federal Communications Commission will no longer require broadcasters to disclose contest rules in their advertisements brought several questions from readers. Most of the...more

7/30/2014 - Contests & Promotions Disclosure Requirements Enforcement FCC

Poker runs are finally legal in Illinois

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently signed into law the Poker Run law, which ended a two-year crusade to make it easier to use poker runs to raise money for charities....more

7/11/2014 - Gambling Gaming Poker

Will the FCC allow online disclosure of contest rules? Stay tuned

Anyone who watches television or listens to the radio has heard a fast-talking announcer race through the abbreviated rules for a sweepstakes or contest . Or perhaps you’ve seen a copy of the official rules for only a second...more

6/25/2014 - Contests & Promotions Disclosure FCC Sweepstakes Websites

Fraudulent sweepstakes: What can we do?

Nearly every year, complaints about sweepstakes crop up among the top 10 complaints received by the Federal Trade Commission. Recently I received a call from a number which I did not recognize. The woman on the line...more

6/10/2014 - Fraud FTC Robocalling Sweepstakes

Protecting personal information in sweepstakes and contests

Sponsors of sweepstakes and contests need to be especially careful to protect all personal private information they receive from entrants in the promotions they sponsor. This is a lesson a radio station in Oregon learned...more

5/28/2014 - Data Breach Data Protection Personally Identifiable Information Privacy Policy Sweepstakes

General Mills dips a toe in forced arbitration for sweepstakes, contests

Last week, The New York Times reported that General Mills added language to its website notifying its customers that if they downloaded a coupon, joined the company’s online community on places like Facebook, or entered a...more

4/24/2014 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Contests & Promotions General Mills Mandatory Arbitration Clauses Sweepstakes

Facebook's promotional page terms get a facelift

It has been almost eight months since Facebook issued its revised Page Terms pertaining to promotions. These were significant changes in the way sweepstakes and contests can be conducted on Facebook. One of the major changes...more

4/21/2014 - Contests & Promotions Facebook

Now on deck: The law behind sports trading cards promotions

Because sweepstakes and contests are such a popular marketing strategy, many industries develop promotions specifically tied to their products. For the world of sports trading cards, one popular promotion is the “box break.”...more

2/26/2014 - Athletes Contests & Promotions Sweepstakes

Can a grab bag be a sweepstakes?

When I hear the words “grab bag,” I think about stores that used to stock plain wrapped packages labeled as either for “boys” or “girls." For a dollar, you could choose one of these packages without knowing what it contained....more

2/4/2014 - Contests & Promotions Sweepstakes

What is the message of the film "Nebraska" for sweepstakes creators?

“Does your dad have Alzheimer’s or something?” “No, he just believes what he is told is true” “That’s too bad.”...more

1/20/2014 - Contests & Promotions Sweepstakes

Abbreviated sweepstakes rules: Don’t give them short shrift

You couldn’t live in the United States very long without at some point seeing abbreviated rules for a sweepstakes. They are usually found in the fine print at the bottom of an ad, sign, email message, bottle top, or banner,...more

12/12/2013 - Advertising Disclosure Requirements Sweepstakes

Creating an in-house incentive contest? Don’t forget the rules

If you create sweepstakes or contests, you understand that having a comprehensive set of official rules is essential. But what about a contest that is part of an incentive program for a company’s employees, dealers, or...more

11/18/2013 - Contests & Promotions FTC

Sweet charity: Maine repeals its commercial co-venture licensing law

Maine has repealed its statute that requires registration and licensing of commercial co-ventures. Effective on October 8, 2013, co-venturers will no longer be required to obtain a license to conduct a commercial co-venture...more

10/10/2013 - Charitable Donations Charitable Organizations Charitable Sales Promotion Co-Ventures Licenses Registration

What you need to know about Australian sweepstakes and contest regulations

One of my favorite aspects of my practice is how it has connected me to fantastic attorneys and businesses around the globe. More and more, sweepstakes and contests are global in nature. Companies around the world reach into...more

8/27/2013 - Australia Contests & Promotions Sweepstakes

Vote farmers plow under Taylor Swift contests

Early in her career, Taylor Swift was a spokesperson for one of our clients. I drafted the official rules for several contests that were used for her concerts and appearances at the client’s sponsored events. (I am secretly...more

7/30/2013 - Contests & Promotions Fraud Internet Terms and Conditions

Boot Camp #5: Customer-only sweepstakes

If sweepstakes law had Ten Commandments, the first would be “thou shall not require anyone to make a purchase in order to enter a sweepstakes.” Doing so could violate the gambling laws in virtually every state in the country....more

7/5/2013 - Gambling Retailers Sweepstakes

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