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Karl Stephen Kronenberger
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Karl Kronenberger’s Answers

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  • Is it legal for a website to host a contest with cash prizes, then end the contest before the deadline, never awarding prizes?

    I entered a contest online. They advertised contestants could win up to $45K. There were 30 catagories. Each Catagory winner received $1,000. The winner of the most catagory wins, wins an extra $15K. After 3 submissions in a catagory the community...

    Karl’s Answer

    This company has probably violated California law; however, I would need to get more information from you before providing a concrete legal opinion. It appears that the company running this contest has attempted to integrate some aspect of skill into the game, so as to avoid the contest being deemed an illegal lottery or sweepstakes under California law. See Cal.Bus. & Prof.Code § 17539.3(e). That said, California law does govern such "contests" (i.e., that involve some combination of skill and chance), by requiring a variety of disclosures, requiring record-keeping and prohibiting a laundry list of things, including prohibiting the failure to award and distribute all prizes of the value and type represented. See Cal.Bus. & Prof.Code § 17539.1(a)(5)(F)(7).

    As mentioned above, I would need to review thoroughly all of the facts before providing legal opinion.

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