Social Trivia Offerings Go Viral Amplifying the Importance of Compliance

HQ Trivia has taken the country by storm. HQ Trivia is an app and trivia game, released in  August 2017 on iOS and later for Android in December 2017. The app has seen viral success by successfully turning Jeopardy! into a live smartphone game show. Now, HQ is coming out with a new show format: HQ Words, which looks to iterate on the popular game show, Wheel of Fortune.

The app invites users to play a quiz game show in real-time with live, professional hosts. Every day at select times, players load up the mobile app to play for real prize money. If a player answers 12 questions correctly, she splits the jackpot with other winners. Players typically win between $10 and $12, but some jackpots have reached $18,000.

Initially, jackpots were paid out by the company’s investors in hope that the offering would become so popular that other companies would begin paying in order to brand the contests with their names and logos. The plan worked and recent agreements with sponsors like Nike and Warner Brothers have resulted in prize pools increasing in size.

While current laws offer opportunities for operators to disseminate their online games, like HQ Trivia, to citizens in the U.S., operators must recognize they are entering an intricate and specialized industry. As such, existing and aspiring operators must understand and operate within these complex legal boundaries. The goal is to be adequately prepared in order to avoid legal problems. Operators must comply with federal law and the laws of all the states where they accept players. Complying with the laws where the company has its offices or houses its servers is insufficient. This not only means designing models to avoid gambling prohibitions but also ensuring adequate rules for the contests exist and that privacy policies are in place to govern the collection of player information. If you would like more details about how operators design such online contests and promotions to comply with these issues, please review our Practical Guide for Offering Online Contests and Promotions, which is available here.

If you have questions regarding this material, our practical guide, or if you need legal assistance with social gaming or promotional sweepstakes, eSports, sports betting and land-based gaming, please contact the authors Karl Rutledge at, Glenn Light at, or Mary Tran at