Running A Sweepstakes In France Is Less Misérables

Author:Mr John Feldman, Matthew Y. Kane and Keri Bruce
Profession:Reed Smith

It's not every day that one gets to observe a non-U.S. jurisdiction abandoning frustrating, idiosyncratic requirements on sweepstakes promotions, but - sacré bleu! - we've got one to report.

For several years, international marketers have listed France among the jurisdictions included in their international sweepstakes and chance-based promotional games by conforming to certain unique French requirements.  Because of a recent development under French law, we have been advised that certain French requirements that are arguably inconsistent with Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market (the "Directive"), have been abandoned.  In particular, this change will mean the following for international marketers:

First, promotional sweepstakes offering prizes on the basis of chance do not need to include reimbursement instructions for postage or Internet connection fees.  This requirement has been deemed to be inconsistent with the Directive as long as the incentive is not so large in relation to the purchase option so as to "distort" the "economic behavior" of an average consumer. Second, the requirement that the official rules be submitted to a huissier prior to advertising the promotion is now...

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