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Trading Card Game

Discussion in 'Internet & Social Media Law' started by RichM, Nov 11, 2019.

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  1. RichM

    RichM Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    New York
    I appreciate all of the help and your time for answering this.

    I am from NY but my idea will be done online.

    I am an artist and I am creating a trading card game where people can win money and prizes. Ive heard that it needs to be a sweepstakes but I just need to know what actions i need to take before i can go live with it.

    Here is the way it will work.

    People/customers will sign up for a monthly membership, depending on their choice of membership will determine how many collectible game cards they receive in the mail each month.

    Once or twice a month I will do a live random drawing of a combination of cards, if a customer has that combination of cards in their collection, and they are the first to post the picture proof on my website then they win the prize money/items!
    In a way it is sort of like the monopoly game McDonalds holds every year for example but different of course.

    What steps would i need to take to make sure i am obeying the law before i proceed with this venture?


    Thanks again in advance.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Hire a lawyer, because if you act upon the advice of random strangers, if the scheme goes awry you won't be able to save yourself in your defense by saying, "But, some random dudes and dudettes on the internet said everything I'll be doing is legal."

    If a lawyer advises me in writing that my actions are legal, I can use such legal advice as a defense after the feces hits the fan.
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    I can tell you right now that you will very likely be breaking the law if you do it. If people have to pay for membership or buy cards just to enter your "sweepstakes" it's illegal.

    If you don't believe me, call the NY State Gaming Commission and lay it out for them.

    NYS Gaming Commission
     
  4. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Your best bet is consult an attorney familiar with gaming law. You need to be sure that you meet the requirements for each state in which you offer this promotion, and state laws vary a bit.

    One of the key problems you need to deal with is that generally if someone has to buy something (a product, service, membership, entry ticket, etc) in order to have a chance to win a prize that is based on chance that is generally illegal gambling.

    To deal with that problem, you usually need to offer the general public a way to participate in the drawing without having to spend anything, and they have be given the same shot to win as the ones who did buy something. A lawyer familiar with gaming law can help you figure out a way to do that which will meet the requirements of at least most states and tell you which states you might have to not allow entries from.
     
    Michael Wechsler likes this.
  5. RichM

    RichM Law Topic Starter New Member

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    So is there any law with buying cards back at their set value?
     
  6. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I used to handle this long ago for an Internet company. If you look at the fine print of many of these types of "games of chance" you'll see rules and restrictions such as "not open to residents of the following states." Does your trading card game limited to one state or all fifty states? How about international? One example of the law can be found here, at the New York State Division of Corporations, State Records & UCC - Games of Chance.

    @Tax Counsel makes an excellent point about purchasing required for entry which creates complications. You may see in the fine print of a number of these games "no purchase required for entry" and there will be options to enter via snail mail (which most are likely not going to do.)

    Some creative companies created what they deemed "games of skill" and tried to rationalize how it could avoid being under sweepstakes and games of chance laws. How these issues are resolved are not always obvious and can vary between jurisdictions.
     
  7. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    No.

    Why do you ask? Have you already sold some with the promise of a chance to win prizes?
     
  8. RichM

    RichM Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Oh no not at all. I was thinking of instead of a sweepstakes I could offer a Buy Back day where i would buy some cards back from customers and add back to my collection.

    Each card i release will have a money value right off the bat, some ranging from rare to commen and each with its own price. If there is no law regarding Buying cards back then that may be a great way to pull my idea into play
     
  9. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    And who is going to set that value? If it is you and you are selling all the cards for say $1.00 and then randomly assigning a higher value to a few or one card and then buying it back at a higher price you are still gambling.
     
  10. RichM

    RichM Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Really? I wouldn't have known.
    Then how would the value / price of each card be asigned so its not gambling?
     
  11. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    This the answer you keep ignoring.

    No one here can advise you such that you can avoid unpleasant legal entanglements in the future.

    You should be looking to hire an attorney to guide you correctly to avoid legal problems with state and/or federal authorities.
     
  12. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    The open market.
     
  13. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Apart from the issue of determining card value that others here have addressed, if you are determining the people from whom you buy back the card by a drawing or other means that involve random chance it is still likely to be regarded as gambling if the participants have to pay to play.
     
  14. RichM

    RichM Law Topic Starter New Member

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    ill have to talk to a lawyer then thanks.

    Last question. Is there somewhere online that is legit that i can higher and ask a lawyer?
     
  15. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    You don't want to hire an attorney online. Use the various search tools online to locate attorneys, but interview them in person.
     
    RichM likes this.
  16. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Nothing in this thread has anything to do with a broker.
     

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