How to run contests, sweepstakes and social media giveaways in Italy

Posted in: Digital marketingLast update: 28/07/22

In Italy, contests and sweepstakes are subject to complex regulations. And you must respect the regulations if you wish to avoid the severe penalties under Italian law. Sonia Travaglini from Promosfera, a specialist Italian agency which organizes contests and sweepstakes, takes us through the steps involved in organizing a promotion in Italy.

Before we start, let’s make one thing clear. There’s a big difference between social media giveaways and online contests. Social media giveaways take place on your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter profile, while online contests have their own unique microsite.

And in Italy, the laws about giveaways and contests are very different. Make sure you read the correct set of rules for your marketing campaign.

How to run a social media giveaway in Italy

Italian law is very clear: if you want to run a giveaway on social media, it has to be in partnership with the social network. But Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all refuse to be officially associated with promotions.

So you’ll need to include a disclaimer in your giveaway post. Explain that the promotion is not officially associated with the social network. In the terms and conditions, you have to state that the giveaway is only open to people who were registered on the social network before the promotion started.

Whenever you run a social media giveaway, you have to collect participants’ data in order to choose a winner. But Italy has very strict data rules. If you collect data, you have to host it on an Italian server… and that’s not possible for social media data.

So, is it possible to run social media giveaways in Italy? Yes! But there’s only one exception to the laws about data hosting. To run a legal social media giveaway in Italy, the prize must be worth less than 1€ (VAT included).

And finally: what if you want to run a social media giveaway based in another country? You can include Italian customers – with two conditions:

  • There is no purchase required to enter the contest.
  • No communication takes place on Italian territory.

If you want to share a prize that’s worth more than 1€, you have to run an online contest with an entry form. Read on to learn how.

How to run an online contest in Italy

Before the contest begins

According to Italian law, contests and sweepstakes in Italy are subject to a series of regulations. Simply drawing up the terms and conditions is not enough. You also have to comply with the following procedures:

  • Terms and conditions. There are no models for the drawing up of terms and conditions. However, the terms and conditions must include all the information stipulated by regulations.
  • Guarantee the prize value. Choose a guarantor or make a deposit in the Bank of Italy, to show that you are offering a genuine prize.
  • Official form. Fill in a complex official form with information about the promotion.

You must complete the form at least 15 days before the promotion starts. You can submit it online to the Ministry for Economic Development (Ministero del Sviluppo Economico).

The document should be sent by a physical and legal Italian resident with an authorized digital signature. If you want to run a promotion in Italy, you must either be Italian or have a tax representative in Italy.

During the contest

According to Italian law, contests and sweepstakes in Italy are subject to a series of regulations. Simply drawing up the terms and conditions is not enough. You also have to comply with the following procedures:

  • Contest app. You must use contest software which is secure and fair. The contest server should be located in Italian territory. Fortunately, Easypromos has that part covered, with a mirroring service.
  • Awarding prizes. The winner selection should take place in front of a public notary, in the province where the prize is awarded. If you run an Instant Win contest, you have to draw up an allocation agreement with the notary.
  • Taxes. Promoters must pay tax on prizes in contests. That includes a withholding tax of 25% of the prize’s sale price of the prize. You can’t recover VAT on goods or services which you purchase for prizes, so they have a further effective tax rate of 22%. If the goods or services are VAT-free, then you have to apply a substitute tax of 20% of the purchase value. But the tax rules change again if your contest is aimed at non-consumers!
  • Manage the winners. This is one of the most important phases of your contest, so it requires care and precision. Notify winners according to the terms and conditions, and provide exact instructions to claim prizes.
  • Deliver the prizes. According to Italian law, prizes must be awarded within 180 days, and the delivery should be certified and verifiable. If you can’t deliver the prize, or there is no winner, then you should donate the prize to a non-profit organization. You can’t keep the prize for yourself!
  • Non-profit organizations. You must nominate a non-profit organization in your terms and conditions, in case there are problems delivering the prize.

Contact us to talk about hosting your online contest in Italy, mirroring services, and whether your promotion is eligible.

Promosfera can help with your contests and sweepstakes in Italy

As you can see, it’s not that difficult to organize promotions in Italy. And the best part is that any type of promotion is allowed: purchase-based, chance-based, via software, and so on. However, it is vital to respect the procedures imposed by Italian law.

Promosfera can help you organize any type of promotion, contest or sweepstakes in Italy. They offer services for writing terms and conditions for all your promotions.

Sonia Travaglini

Managing director of Promosfera. Sonia founded the company after having gained experience in publishing, advertising and marketing. She did it with an international vision, achieving her goal of creating a very specialized promotion agency. Sonia is the mother of 3 and she holds a degree in economics and legal management. She spends her free time experimenting with international recipes and studying positive psychology.

Publication date: 2017-01-23