Contest and event considerations

Greetings Elyrians!

We have noticed a growing number of "contests" and events being run by the community. Unfortunately, some of them may be illegal according to the US law.

We know most of you weren't aware of this and/or didn’t intend to violate any laws, so we ask that you do not take this as a personal attack. Also, don't look at those who held these sorts of events as scammers, they're not. This is an issue of lack of information, therefore, we will help sort it out to avoid any further conflicts.

1) Illegal lottery or contest?

  • Contest: The winner is chosen by merit-Judged content-. (Fanfic, fanarts, music...)They don't have to buy their access with money or other compensation.

  • Lottery: People pay money for a chance to win a prize. Lotteries are highly regulated, and if they are held without the consultation of legal counsel, there is a good chance they could be illegal.

*Note: If the method of participating in the contest requires payment, it's potentially illegal. Every time a payment without recompense is required to participate in any sort of event, a given State's laws are possibly being broken. Each State determines it's own laws for Lotteries and Raffles. Example: A Kingdom token gave the buyer something in return for the $10 they spent.

2) Why is my event potentially an illegal lottery/raffle?

A Lottery is composed of a prize, chance and a consideration.

  • Prize: What one could earn by participating.

  • Chance: Winners chosen randomly, which basically means by luck alone.

  • Consideration: How to enter. Participation often requires money, but it could be something else of value.

If you want to keep your event legal, never ask for money or something else of value in return for a chance to win. This also includes contests with charity initiatives, because they're still non-regulated raffles.Charity events can accept money as long as they're not a requirement to participate or win.

3) What do I do? I want to keep organizing events!

Don't worry, we love and appreciate any kind of work you do for the community. You can keep organizing them as long as they respect the law.

Note: A giveaway not the same as a contest, as explained above, the winners are chosen by judged content(merit).

If you want to host a giveaway, make sure you follow these rules:

  • Make sure the winner is chosen at random.
  • Identify the prize(s) in detail including quantity.
  • Never ask for money or something of value.
  • Define the rules of your event in detail.
  • Define when it starts and when it finishes and execute on those dates.
  • Define who can participate and how. In many countries, especially the US, you must be 18 years or older to participate.
  • Define how the winner will be chosen, including if you will be choosing the winner randomly.
  • Explain what would happen in the event of a technical failure, such as will you delete duplicate entries, how to contact you with questions, etc.

Always contact [email protected] if you want to make sure your event is legal or if you have questions.

4) Why do we do this?

We're doing this to protect Soulbound Studios, Chronicles of Elyria and you, our players. We don't write the law, we just follow it.

Also, no one can guarantee your own safety. You could become a victim of a scam, since scammers tend to take advantage of these sorts of lotteries. We will do our best to protect our community as much as possible so that doesn’t happen here.

Let us know if you have any questions by replying to this thread or emailing us.

Thanks for your support!

2/25/2018 4:09:21 PM #1

It's good to see this guide here! How about making this a sticky at least for some time so it doesn't get immediately buried? :)

2/25/2018 5:28:55 PM #2

Posted By Rofus at 08:09 AM - Sun Feb 25 2018

It's good to see this guide here! How about making this a sticky at least for some time so it doesn't get immediately buried? :)

Should add it to the "community contests" sticky imo.

Thanks for the reminder on lotteries!

2/25/2018 6:27:48 PM #3
2/25/2018 6:46:30 PM #4

Merit based contests may use judged content to determine the winner, provided they did not have to "buy in" via money or other compensation.

Examples of such are the mini contests the BC uses during it's livestreams, or the Contest for story writing going on for the Seafaring theme.

That being said, lottery rules are beyond strict, have severe sanctions, and have significant negative implications and consequences for people that run afoul of the intricacies, even by accident.

If receiving money is involved, even for charity, check with SBS first! If the winner is chosen at random, this may also run afoul of lottery laws, so double check with SBS as well if the prize is awarded at random.

2/25/2018 6:53:34 PM #5

I should clarify that for random winner giveaways, Elbereth's list under point 3) is a great guide. You might still check with SBS beforehand to double check though, as "random winner" is what gets lottery investigator's ears to perk up.

2/25/2018 9:27:15 PM #6


I just wanted to say: thank you very much for your support,suggestions and understanding. :)

EDIT: Special thanks to Juris Primus for his help. I added two details to difference better between a giveaway and a contest.

4/9/2018 12:12:02 PM #7

Maybe change it to "Illegal lottery or Legal contest" ? I was confused for a minute thinking "is it really illegal to have a contest?"

Anyway I will assume the contests I have been running aren't illegal since I go out of my way to make sure people know the creators own what they created and not me.

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