Why Photogs in Certain States Can’t Enter Nat Geo’s Photo Contest

Yesterday we reported that Nikon Photo Contest is no longer accepting film photos starting this year. Turns out it’s not the only prestigious photo contest with rules that are causing some discussion. Check out what National Geographic Photo Contest 2012 says under the rules section “Who May Enter”:

Contest is open only to individuals who have reached the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry and who do NOT reside in Cuba, Iran, New Jersey, North Korea, the Province of Quebec, Sudan, Syria or Vermont. Employees of National Geographic Society, and its subsidiaries and affiliates […] CONTEST IS VOID IN CUBA, IRAN, NEW JERSEY, NORTH KOREA, THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC, SUDAN, SYRIA, VERMONT AND WHERE PROHIBITED.

Iran and North Korea? Those are understandable… but New Jersey and Vermont? Turns out there’s a pretty simple answer for those states as well: state laws.

Check out what North Carolina law firm Enns & Archer says about “skill contest” laws in the United States:

In a bona fide skill contest, it is the element of chance that is eliminated. Therefore, it is often possible to require consideration, such as an entry fee for participation. However, note that the states of Colorado, Maryland, Nebraska, North Dakota and Vermont do not allow consideration in a skill contest. Additional states, such as New Jersey and Tennessee, have Attorney General opinions in which the AG has opined that consideration in a skill contest is unlawful. So if your contest is on the internet or is otherwise a national contest, no entry fee or other consideration may be charged, or else these states should be specifically excluded from participation.

Thus, National Geographic excludes some states from its photo contest because “those states do not allow operation of a skill contest that requires an entry fee.”

If you live in any of the states listed above and regularly participate in photography contests that require an entry fee, you might want to take a close look at both your state’s contest laws and the contests’ rules. Otherwise, you might receive a nasty shock if you do win any of them!

(via Unique Photo)

Image credits: NatGeo by TrinitroX, Like a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. by MJ/TR (´・ω・)

  • Jim Bob

    Love it even National Geographic follows the US Governments tiny minded petty gutless boycott of Cuba, Iran and North Korea. Countries that like Afghanisnam pose no threat to America.

  • andreq

    TIL : I’m in Province of Quebec and I can’t fulfill one of my dream :'(

  • Mark

    Interesting, did not know about this. Those that live in the excluded states should push your state legislators to amend their contest rules.

  • len hartsville

    it’s likely that nat geo is not really able to make a choice in that matter. embargos don’t end with the federal government, they extend to private enterprise as well.

  • sam

    Apart from the states in U.S that has these laws like you mentioned, would also like to know why participants from countries like Cuba, North Korea, and Iran are prohibited. Anyone?

  • Xxx

    I think entry fees suck. If they can’t pay for their own contest without soaking all of the entrants, most of whom get *nothing* for their money, they shouldn’t be holding said “contest” in the first place.

  • JosephRT

    Also Jim Bob, it is not only our “petty minded government”, it is their government as well. It is against Cuban law to conduct trade with the US too.

  • Daniel Austin Hoherd

    So these are the modern times… a “free” country where you can’t compete in a contest that measures your own skill.

  • C.K. Lee

    They aren’t exactly forcing you to enter the contest… if you don’t like it, don’t enter.

  • Pang Sern Yong

    Because these “repressed” states have more culture than the USA there
    will be so many amazing photos coming from them that the US government does not want its citizens to see.

  • Zak Henry

    That is an interesting law, I wonder how something like poker played in a casino fits within the law. Especially in tournaments you are paying to enter a skill contest.

  • pete n pete

    Hey you can’t even pump your own gas in Dirty Jerz, because they afraid you’ll hurt yourself. This shouldn’t be that huge a shocker.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Wait, what? Seriously? That’s so hilarious that it’s not.

  • t_linn

    Same with Oregon. Drives me crazy. I read a story once that suggested the woman heading the committee that controls this area of state law doesn’t want to pump her own gas so she kills any bill that would allow it.

  • t_linn

    Photo contests with entry fees are nothing more than cash grabs. It disappoints me that Nat Geo is participating in this type of scam.

  • james shaw

    srslyyyyyyyy ridicccc

  • hagavaletudo

    finally, some sense….

  • Gregor

    I like when people say something is un-American. Sounds like you guys are the ones who invented freedom.

  • kaja12

    america is not such a free nation compared to other nations…
    only uneducated americans with a narrow horizon think they are.
    and that´s always a suprise too me.
    i mean…. even the rednecks in kentucky must know about the patriot act and co. by now.
    of course when you compare the USA only to north korea or china then it may look like a free country…..

  • Chris

    So on one hand you have people complaining that states are excluded, and on the other hand you have people complaining about the contest itself. Sounds to me like some people are saying that the states with these laws may be protecting their citizens from a ‘cash grab’. Also, I do not thing Nat Geo is upholding a boycott so much as covering their own butt so they cannot be prosecuted.

  • sierrarobba

    How old are You and what is you major?Because you dont ask stupid things like cuba,iran north corea why cant enter natgeo photo content.
    Learn History!Know your own country!

  • SteelToad

    Probably federal financial sanctions preventing them entering into financial transactions with businesses in, or citizen’s of, those countries.

  • SteelToad

    … You mean like the freedom of a state to say “No, your rules dont apply to us”

  • PaulyG

    Don’t lie… The Jersey Shore fkd it for everyone…

  • pete n pete

    I wouldn’t be surprised by that at all.

  • pete n pete

    Totally true. I got yelled at by a Sikh gas attendant once for getting out of my car. I wasn’t even pumping gas, just throwing some trash away.

  • pem

    10000 USD grand prize???? nd u collect 15USD from each photo………hmmm…seems legit

  • Trinitro

    Esa es mi foto! :), estoy muy contento que la hayan usado aunque esté recortada!

  • Jason

    I can’t see how it can be a scam if you are told all the rules. If there are rules you don’t like just don’t enter.

  • Jason

    Or entering a marathon with a prize for first place?

  • Zak Henry

    That’s probably a better example, as with poker it is a skill game but there is the element of luck with shuffling.

  • DrDevil87

    Vive la loi 101 -_-

  • bob cooley

    Because those countries do not have trade status with us (no treaties regulating trade) – so NatGeo can’t give the prize to anyone in those countries (or enter a legally binding contract with them).

  • bob cooley

    The issue isn’t the skill, and the law isn’t there to punish the citizen (though that is an unintended consequence) – the idea is that if a company wants to hold a contest based on judging someone’s skill, the entrant shouldn’t have to pay a fee to enter the contest.

    It NatGeo wanted to be good about this, they could just waive the fee for entrants in those states, but these contests are big business for them. It’s kind of a shame…

  • bob cooley

    In many cases, those casinos are on Native American land, which is considered sovereign, and not regulated by the state’s laws. If they aren’t, they are venues and events sanctioned (and licensed w/ fees being paid to the state) by the state gaming commission.

    Typically those fees are pretty high, and its likely that NatGeo just doesn’t want to be licensed for what is a one-off contest, and would likely cost them quite a bit of money for the license.

  • View Minder

    Because your government won’t let you.