According to Bill Ray of RegHardware.co.uk, the updated agreement explicitly allows sweepstakes and lotteries to be run through iPhone apps, as long as all laws are followed and the apps make it clear that Apple is not involved in the giveaways.
I think that an iPhone app for sweepstakes is a really interesting idea. After all, there are already apps for Facebook and Twitter that make it easier for companies to sponsor sweepstakes through social media, why not for the iPhone, too?
But I am skeptical about any company that offers lotteries through iPhone apps. As you may know, the difference between sweepstakes and illegal lotteries is that sweepstakes aren't allowed to ask for consideration.
So when I see an iPhone app which people can buy and then press a button daily for the chance to win between $100 and $1,000, I worry that this is skating the legal definition of a lottery. The first app of this type that I saw does allow entry without purchase by mail, but is that enough when there is no other value to the purchase than to enter the lottery? In general, I don't trust sweepstakes sites that aren't promoting a product beyond the sweepstakes.
Also, as with any new way of offering sweepstakes, you should be very careful when you participate. Make sure that you follow the guidelines for determining whether the sweepstakes is legitimate or a fraud and use a healthy dose of common sense. It's better to skip a sweepstakes that gives you a bad vibe than to risk your personal information.
What do you think about sweepstakes and lotteries for the iPhone? Take my quick poll and share your thoughts with the "comment" link below.
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