Why are So Many Competitions Void in Quebec?

Canada Sweepstakes Law's Effect on Residents of Quebec

Porte St Louis wall,Quebec City
Many sweepstakes close their gates to residents of Quebec. Here's why. Peter Unger / Getty Images

Why Are So Many Sweepstakes Void in Quebec?

If you love to enter contests and live in Quebec, you face a problem. There are many Canadian sweepstakes that you'd love to enter, but they are void in Quebec. Why do so many sweepstakes exclude Quebec residents? They have almost a third of the population of Canada, making them an attractive target for marketing. Why don't sweepstakes sponsors like Quebec?

Canadian Sweepstakes Law Is Behind Many Companies' Decision to Exclude Quebec

Companies don't exclude residents of Quebec from sweepstakes because they don't want to advertise in Quebec, or because they have anything against the residents of that fine province. The reason why so many sweepstakes are void in Quebec is that the sponsors must follow a stringent set of laws set out by Quebec's "Regie des alcools, des courses et des jeux," which governs alcohol, lotteries, contests, gambling, and more.

Quebec sweepstakes law is designed to protect its residents and to ensure that prizes are awarded as promised, which is so important for sweepers.  However, they also cost sweepstakes sponsors money and resources, and the consequences for making a mistake and violating them are severe.

For example, in order for sweepstakes to be open to residents of Quebec, the companies sponsoring the sweepstakes must take some or all of the following steps:

  • Register the sweepstakes rules and all advertisements used to promote the contest with the Quebec government at least 30 days ahead of the sweepstakes' launch.
  • Pay a fee of up to 10% of the sweepstakes' value, depending on who is allowed to enter.
  • Agree to allow the government of Quebec to mediate any lawsuits arising from the contest.
  • Follow strict guidelines about the contents of the sweepstakes rules.
  • Allow the Quebec government to determine if the sweepstakes may be changed or canceled once it has started.
  • File a written report after the contest has concluded, attesting that the prizes have been delivered or attempted to be delivered.
  • Agree to follow a number of other rules and guidelines. See the Quebec Sweepstakes Laws for more details.

These requirements are more onerous than those of other Canadian provinces. Imagine the cost for a company based in Florida to litigate disputes about their sweepstakes in Quebec, for example.

Especially for smaller companies, the advantages of allowing residents of Quebec to enter do not justify the potential costs. Rather than risking fines or legal action if these sweepstakes laws are not followed to the letter, many sponsors take the easier route of making their contests and sweepstakes void in Quebec.

If You're a Resident of Quebec...

If you live in Quebec, it's particularly important for you to read sweepstakes' rules to ensure that you're eligible to enter. Otherwise, you could be wasting valuable time on giveaways that you can't win.