International Sweepstakes and Contests

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If you think that sweepstakes laws can be confusing and expensive to adhere to in the US, just try running an international sweepstakes or contest. Countries have various definitions of what can and cannot be run and certain countries do not all allow games of chance (sweepstakes) or games of skill (contests). In addition, countries may require one or more of the following: registration and fees, bonding or insurance, taxes paid in advance, taxes withheld by the sponsor or paid by the winner or even translation of all materials including rules into specific local languages.

Below is a list of what countries currently allow a game of chance (sweepstakes) or game of skill (contest). Should you be interested in learning more about running an international program or have a specific country in mind, give us a shout.

Country Sweepstakes
game of chance
game of skill
bonding, filing, taxes
special considerations
Argentina Yes Yes No Spanish When a prize is awarded to a winner selected by chance a 31% special tax is levied. If the prize is cash, the entity awarding it must withhold and pay for the tax. If the prizes are goods the beneficiary must provide the entity awarding the prize the amount of money requested to pay for the special tax.
Australia Yes Yes No No No permits required for skill games. No income taxes. In NSW – a foreign entity must have an ABN (Australian Business Number) in order to obtain a permit and the prize must be drawn in Australia. In the ACT – the foreign entity must also have an address in Australia. In SA – a permit is required for a ‘major’ trade promotion lottery which is where the total value (nationally) of all prizes in the lottery exceeds A$5,000 (approx. US$3,643), or the prizes include both instant and drawn prizes (regardless of the value of the prizes). Additionally, there are various restrictions on prize claims, winners, publishing the winners, etc.
Austria Yes Yes No German  
Barbados Yes Yes No No  
Belgium No Yes No Dutch, French Based solely on skill – The skill involved should be sufficiently convincing
Bermuda Yes Yes No No  
Brazil No No Filing & Fees Portuguese Having a Brazilian company is mandatory to comply with all necessary documents to be presented before Caixa when filing the Authorization request. Authorization requests must be filed within 40-120 days prior to the beginning of the promotion. Authorization fee (based on value chart) Plus prize awarding fee equal to 10% of prize value payable by organizer
Bulgaria Yes Yes No Bulgarian It should be noted that the COA prohibits the release for damages suffered due to a gross negligence and/or unlawful misconduct.
Canada Yes Yes Yes, if includes Quebec and Canada only. No No income tax on prizes. If including the province of Quebec, campaigns that are not international and include Canada and/or Quebec only require registration, bonding and post filing via the Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux.
Chile Yes Yes No No  
China Yes Yes No No FB, TW, IG and various other websites are banned in China – any invitation to use these services could be problematic with the government. For any kind of lucky draw or prize promotion based on chance, the highest prize cannot exceed the value of ¥50,000 (approx. US$7,270)
Colombia Yes Yes No Spanish The rules only apply to companies that operate within the Colombian territory. Regulations in relation to gambling activities do not apply to prize promotions conducted by companies from abroad with no base in Colombia, nor prize promotions from games of skill and dexterity. Nonetheless, various other laws such as the consumer protection law or data privacy law or intellectual property, in some cases, may apply to prize promotions conducted from abroad in which the customers are located within Colombia
Croatia No No Yes Croatian Only Croatian entities can organize promotional games of chance; If the promotion involves Croatians, then the random draw must be in Croatia. There are no provisions currently in force related to promotions taking place solely online. There must be a separate prize pool for Croatians. Prizes must not consist of cash.
Czechia (Czech Republic) Yes Yes No Czech  
Denmark Yes Yes Yes No Short rules require additional details; CASL like checkbox is required for re-marketing.
Egypt No No Yes Arabic Approval of the promotion must be obtained from the Ministry of Social Affairs (lottery department). The application for approval must provide details of how the promotion will operate. The application must also include an undertaking that the promoter holds the prizes and has the right to pass them to the winner, together with evidence that the prize is available. A donation of 15% of the total value of the prizes must be paid to a charity fund designated by the Ministry. If all is in order, the application is expected to be approved in a few days. The promotion, or advertising for the promotion, cannot begin until approval is obtained. Under the law, the promoter must also pay 60% of the value of the prizes as a tax, though it is understood this is often not required in practice. If the promotion is changed to include a question that the participant must answer, this tax can be reduced to 20% payable by the promoter and another 20% payable by the prize winner. The law requires the relevant terms and conditions to be translated into Arabic and lodged with the application.
Estonia Yes Yes Yes Estonian 20% income tax is payable by the sponsor (if winner is in Estonia)
Finland Yes Yes No Finnish  
France Yes Yes No French (Parisian)  
Germany Yes Yes No German Limit the use of participants’ data only for this particular purpose (except where the participants have explicitly consented to the data being used for further purposes, eg email newsletters). A liability release would be invalid in so far as it waives claims for damages regarding death or body injury. Liability and/or publicity releases should be adapted to the laws applicable in the entrant’s jurisdiction.
Hungary Yes Yes No Hungarian  
India Yes Yes No No Must exclude State of Tamil Nadu
Ireland Yes Yes No No  
Italy No No No Italian The promoter established outside of the Italian territory can run a prize promotion, but would be required by law to appoint a fiscal representative in Italy or ask for a direct identification VAT number from the Italian Tax Authority (subject to certain conditions provided by the applicable fiscal laws) in order to comply.
Japan Yes Yes No No  
Latvia Yes Yes No No  
Lebanon Yes Yes No No Approval of the promotion must be obtained from the Ministry of Finance. The application for approval must provide details of how the promotion will operate. It must also include evidence that the prize is available (eg receipts or a copy of the tickets, or confirmation from the tour operator), and an undertaking that the promoter has the right to pass it to the winner. The application must be approved before the promotion begins or before it is advertised. It usually takes a week for the application to be approved. While a bond or bank guarantee is not required, the applicant will be required to pay stamp duty, calculated on the basis of L£30 (approximately $2) per Lebanese participant, as soon as the application is approved. The application should be made by someone who is registered with the Lebanese Register of Commerce (and they will need to include a certified copy of this registration with the application). If the promoter does not have a locally registered business in Lebanon, a local agent should apply on its behalf (preferably one of its local distributors).
Lithuania Yes Yes Registration, license, limitations for games of chance Lithuanian The game organizers must register game winners in accordance with the procedure established by the Gaming Control Authority under the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania. Obtain a license; register winners; prize value limitations; The game organizer must issue the winner, at his request, a certificate in the form established by the State Tax Inspectorate under the Ministry of Finance attesting to the prizes paid (delivered) to that winner.
Luxembourg Yes Yes Yes – for games of chance No Rules must be filed with a bailiff.
Mexico No Yes Yes Spanish For games of chance, prizes MUST be awarded in Mexico. No existing regulation applicable for skills competitions.
Morocco Yes Yes No No There is no specific regulation of the types of promotion and prize draws usually conducted by brand owners, and no official consent or licence is required. It is common practice for organizers to deposit the terms and conditions before a notary public in Morocco, and to mention this in all promotional material.
Netherlands Yes Yes No No The prize value (whether for one prize or several prizes combined) must not exceed €100,000 in value per year (does not apply to skill games). Maximum of one game of chance in relation to any organization per year, with a maximum of 20 drawings, ie a maximum of 20 occasions per year when winners can be selected which means that a maximum of 20 winners can be picked for the one game of chance. Translation to Dutch recommended.
New Zealand Yes Yes No No Promotional material must clearly explain: the method of determining the winner and how/when the winner will be notified. No income tax on prizing.
Norway Yes Yes No No  
Oman Yes Yes No No Approval of the promotion must be obtained from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. A letter (on company letterhead) must be submitted requesting a licence and providing details of the operation of the proposed promotion. The letter must be submitted 15 days before the beginning of the promotion.
Peru Yes Yes No No When prizes consist in goods, their value can be subject to payment of custom duties (if they are imported by the sponsor, who will therefore be liable for the payment of these duties, which range between 0% and 9% of the import value) and to VAT (18%). Sponsor must assume all taxes, costs, or other payments.
Philippines Yes Yes Registration required – 30 days in advance of promotion launch No  
Poland No Yes Permit required, bank guarantee required Polish Games of chance are heavily regulated. According to the customs authorities, multinational chance based games cannot be organized in Poland. The Polish part of a lottery/game of chance should be separated in order to cover only the Polish territory, and all the activities connected with this lottery, including the random draw, should take place in Poland. This does not apply to games of skill where the winner can be selected from any country.
Qatar Yes Yes No   Approval of the promotion must be obtained from the Ministry of Business and Trade. The application for approval must provide detail of how the promotion will operate. It must include details of the goods and services to be promoted, and the prices before and during the promotion. The application for approval must be lodged one month before the beginning of the promotion. A bond is not required. However, it is necessary to provide an undertaking to the Ministry regarding compliance with their requirements, notification of the winner and delivery of the prize within 30 days. We;re currently unaware of where to obtain the application for approval.
Romania Yes Yes No Romanian Prizes are subject to an income tax in the amount of 16% of the prize value (which is withheld and paid by the organizer of the promotion) except for prizes below RON 600 (approx. EUR 135) which are not taxable. **Must apply for Tax Registration
Russia Yes Yes Yes Russian The promoter of the contest is regarded to be a tax agent and undertakes to report to the Russian tax authorities the information on winners, received prizes and their liquidated value, if applicable, by filing the respective form prescribed by applicable laws.
Saudi Arabia Yes Yes Yes Arabic Must obtain a license from the Director-General of the Anti-Commerce Fraud Department or the competent branch of the Ministry of Commerce and Investment. The application for a license must provide detail of how the promotion will operate and must include proof of ownership of the prize. From time-to-time, the Ministry officials may require that a further approval is obtained from the Ministry of Communications and Information. These requests are rare but generally occur when a promotion has an online element. The ACFR does not stipulate the license fees for a license an application. This should be confirmed with the competent authorities before at the time of making any application. Submissions to the competent authorities for a license are also to be submitted in Arabic, and in any event such authorities may require that the terms and conditions of the promotion/competition include an Arabic translation. Purchase of a product should not be a precondition for participation in competition. Also, the means of participation in a competition should not be affixed to a product or placed inside a product package (ie the entry form cannot be part of the product packaging). The competition should not be based on any matter that violates Islamic principles or the traditions of Saudi Arabia. It is also prohibited for a prize to include travel to a destination outside Saudi Arabia. The period of competition should not exceed 60 days. The competition result should be declared within a period not exceeding 30 days from the date on which the competition ends and the prize must be awarded within seven days. It is a formal requirement of the law that the competition is under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. This requirement includes draws being held in and outside Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, if it can be shown that the promotion will be properly regulated in a neighbouring jurisdiction, the Ministry may waive its right to supervise the draw in the context of a multi-jurisdictional promotion.
Serbia Yes Yes No No Not regulated – unless payment is required to enter
Singapore Yes Yes Yes No

– the methodology of the promotion, the details of the prizes to be distributed, their manner of distribution, and if the winners are determined solely or partly by a draw, the time, date and place of the draw, shall be disclosed in printed publicity material, copies of which shall be freely available to all participants and 2 copies of which shall be sent to the Head, Gambling Suppression Branch, Criminal Investigation Department, by AR registered post at least 4 weeks prior to the launch of the promotion;

–  where the total value of prizes exceeds $10,000, such information shall also be published in a newspaper; and

– the draw shall be conducted in public, or any draw by means of a computerized system which is not conducted in public shall be witnessed and audited by a public accountant who is not in the employment of the organization

– all winners shall be notified in writing by ordinary post

– where the total value of prizes exceeds $10,000, the results of the lottery shall be published in a newspaper within 7 days following the determination of all the winners

Slovakia Yes Yes No Slovak  
South Africa Yes Yes No No In terms of regulation 11(3) of the CPA Regulations any provision in the rules requiring the prize winner to permit the use of their image in marketing material, participate in any marketing activity, or be present when the draw is taking place or the winners are announced, without affording the prize winner the opportunity to decline an invitation or informing such prize winner of the right to decline the invitation, is void.
South Korea Yes Yes No No  
Spain No Yes Yes Spanish In skill-based contests open to residents of several countries, the random draw/winner determination process can be conducted in another country. But, in the case of chance-based games, the winner determination process must occur in Spain. The sponsor must pay a gambling tax of 10% of the total value of prizes offered. Preparing and filing the related tax forms with the tax authorities may take a week. Should the sponsor be based abroad, a Spanish Tax ID for non-residents must be obtained. The formalities attached to it may take one to two weeks.
Sweden Yes Yes No Swedish  
Switzerland Yes Yes No No  
Taiwan Yes Yes No No A business cannot give away a prize valued at more than 120 times Taiwan’s minimum monthly salary. The minimum monthly salary is set by the cabinet-level Council for Labor Affairs and is currently TWD17,880 (about USD600). The maximum value for a single prize would be approximately USD72,000. No formal “publication of winners” procedure exists but a “full disclosure” obligation should require that there be public disclosure of winners. The nature/form of the notice would need to be identified in the terms and conditions.
Turkey Yes Yes No Turkish Requires permission from the GDNL. With respect to prize draws, the process of selecting winners must be open to the general public to observe, and the winner must be selected in the presence of a Turkish Notary Public. Cannot award cash. The requirement to sign a liability and/or publicity release can be introduced into the Official Rules of the promotion; however, these cannot be set forth as a “requirement” to win the prize. The wording is the key here. A clarification in the Official Rules such as “the winner agrees to a publicity release in relation to the announcement and publication of the promotion without asking for any additional benefits other than the prize” is permissible. However wording such as “the winner must sign a publicity release in order to receive the prize” will be open to challenge.
Ukraine Yes Yes   No  
United Kingdom Yes Yes No No  
United Arab Emirates (UAE) No Yes Yes Arabic 7 emirates in total make up the UAE. Permits are required for Dubai and Abu Dhabi from their respective Departments of Economic Development (DED). Other emirates in the UAE require their own permits as well. Permits from DED take approx. 1-week to obtain.
United States Yes Yes Registration, Bonding in NY, FL and RI (if including in-store). IRS tax filings required for prize winners. No Prize values over $5,000 require bonding in addition to registration for New York and Florida. If including in-store, Rhode Island requires registration.