Running an online sweepstakes or contest could be a great way to draw visitors to your site. Everyone loves a chance to win something, and they’re prone to tell their friends, spreading the word even more. However, with no solid legal basis for your official rules and terms, you may be opening you to ultimately serious consequences. A sweepstakes and contest lawyer is an essential resource who should be consulted at the start of the process of working on your promotion. Many reasons exist you might choose to operate a sweepstakes. Movie tie-ins and book or new product release giveaways are very common. Maybe you are a service provider who wishes to achieve start up business by providing away a free service. There’s almost no industry that doesn’t seem sensible. There is a difference between sweepstakes and contests, from the legal standpoint. Sweepstakes winners are chosen by accident, just like a random drawing. Contests have criteria which should be met to ensure that entries for you to qualify, and to win. Sweepstakes entrants aren’t required to do anything whatsoever beyond completing a form, while contests involve doing or creating something, and may even involve an entry fee. This can lead to the main area of risk, the thin line between contests and illegal gambling. The most prominent element is consideration, in other words, requiring an order or cash payment in order to enter the contest. Some states define the word more broadly, to include whenever or effort put out by contestants. Thus, contests that entries are made by uploading a video might be determined to be consideration.