Sweepstakes need regulation

On Monday, state Attorney General Mike Hatch filed a lawsuit against Publisher’s Clearing House, the well-known mail sweepstakes company. Regardless of the lawsuit’s results, Publisher’s Clearing House and similar companies will be influenced to alter some of their more dubious practices.
Hatch is contending that the company has been persuading consumers that their chances to win would increase if they purchased more of the company’s products. Similar lawsuits have been filed by attorneys general in several other states.
Since the sweepstakes began in 1967, the company has been using misleading practices that are surprisingly legal and, in many instances, only barely so. Envelopes with explicit offers of several million dollars conceal circumstantial nullifications of the awards, and often these awards are contingent upon entering by the supposed winners. Though many people have received personalized award notifications, the company has actually awarded an estimated $137 million.
The attorney general’s lawsuit should encourage sweepstakes corporations to refrain from deceitful practices, which only offend the consumers they are purportedly trying to benefit.