Companies that offer sweepstakes in the United States usually exclude residents of Puerto Rico from participating. In most cases, the decision to exclude residents of Puerto Rico have been driven by the onerous requirements that have been imposed on sweepstakes sponsors in that jurisdiction. For example, Puerto Rico has required sponsors to do the following: (a) translate rules into Spanish; (b) publish rules in newspapers or magazines; and (c) have a notary public certify drawing and game pieces. In addition, the regulations had contained some ambiguities about what activities constituted impermissible consideration.
Effective November 27, 2009, most of the requirements that have led companies to avoid running promotions in Puerto Rico have been eliminated. For example, the new regulations issued by the Puerto Rico Department of Consumer Affairs only require rules to be in Spanish if the sweepstakes is advertised in Spanish. Rules may now be published online, rather than in print, and a notary is not required to certify any aspect of the promotion. In addition, the regulations now limit consideration to include a payment or some other act that financially benefits the sponsor.
These changes make it a lot easier for companies to run sweepstakes in Puerto Rico. Although there may be cases in which a company has to exclude Puerto Rico, most of the legal barriers have been removed.
Click here for a copy of the new regulations.