Skills contests are innovative promotional marketing tools that will help your company’s popularity and sales soar. These contests can be fun ways to introduce and encourage consumer sales for your product or service. There are specific legal requirements for skills contests that you must follow or there will be costly consequences for your business. Each state has different laws for these promotions, but there are a few that are common for each one. Let’s look at the standard requirements for planning and managing a skills contest, so you don’t get caught up in costly legal repercussions. Skills Determine the Winner It should be a no-brainer, but in skills contests, the contestant with the best skills wins. It is critical to ensure that the talent is indeed the final ground for determining the winner and not chance, or the contest could be considered a sweepstakes. States have specific methods to determine what distinguishes skill from chance. Usually, one of the following tests will be applied to decide if the promotion is a contest or a sweepstakes:
  • Pure chance
  • Any chance
  • Predominant element
  • Material element
Judging Criteria You should disclose the judge’s objective that will determine the winner(s) of the contest and the percentage of weights you will give them in the official set of rules. If you don't offer any, then the judges should have equal weights. Judges You must have judges that are qualified and experienced in the area in which the skills are being performed. A judge who knows nothing about the skill being performed cannot justifiably determine if the contestant performed well or not. Determining Who Wins Each judge should receive a scorecard that is filled out during the contest for each contestant. They will then review the cards before making their final decision and announcing the winner(s). Scorecards will also provide proper documentation of each entrant’s performance.   Breaking Ties You should plan on how you will break a tie between contestants if it occurs. You should include how you will decide who wins in the official rules. Don’t let the tiebreaker be a method of chance such as a drawing. Any method of chance will risk your skills contest turning into a sweepstakes. Requiring a Payment or Purchase Beware of requiring a payment or purchase to enter a skills contest. Some states still prohibit charging for entrance. Those who permit it require you to disclose it in the official rules and advertisements. Conclusion Skills contest requirements vary slightly by state, but there are some that are common among all of them. These promotional marketing tools will benefit your company’s growth. Acknowledge the laws in your state regarding skills contest and make sure you follow them to prevent any legal repercussions. For any questions regarding the management or planning of promotional contests, contact CFA. We offer quality information and low prices for contest management services. If you’re looking for a promotional event that will increase the popularity and gain enthusiasm or your business, you are a client we want to serve.