Online Prize Competitions

An online raffle or prize competition can be a very lucrative business. However, it is important that your prize competition is run within the boundaries of the law, otherwise you may find that you are running an illegal lottery.

Our commercial solicitors can assist you with all aspects of your online prize competition to include:

  • Conducting a “health check” of your online raffle or prize competition website to make sure it is legally compliant
  • Drafting and advising on online raffle and prize competition terms and conditions of entry
  • Providing a written legal opinion on your raffle or prize competition website often requested by social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram
  • Advising on data protection and drafting cookies and privacy policies
  • Advising on brand strategy and other intellectual property rights (e.g. copyright, licensing and trademarks).

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Our business solicitors offer a free, no obligation meeting to discuss your online raffle and prize competition website requirements. For more information or to set up a meeting, please contact us.

Is my raffle or prize competition site really gambling and do I need a licence?

The Gambling Act 2005 regulates “gambling” which is defined as “gaming”, “betting” or “participating in a lottery”. These activities involve payment and the allocation of a prize wholly reliant on chance. Lotteries cannot be run for commercial gain and most can only be run for good causes such as charities, sporting or cultural clubs or other not-for-profit causes – all of which heavily rely on income from lotteries to support their work.

If your prize competition site falls outside the scope of gaming, betting or a lottery, you will not require a gambling licence. However, bear in mind that it is a criminal offence to run these activities without a licence, so it is vital that your raffle or prize competition site is run in a way which complies with the Gambling Commission’s requirements. The Gambling Commission (www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk) licenses and regulates how people and businesses provide gambling in Great Britain.

How do I run my raffle or prize competition lawfully without requiring a licence?

There are two main ways to run your prize competition site lawfully. The first is to offer a free alternative route of entry, such as a postal route. The second way is to incorporate an element of skill, knowledge or judgment into the competition so as to prevent a significant proportion of the public from winning the prize and participating in the competition. Whilst this may sound simple, the laws surrounding free entry and the skill based element are quite complex and you should seek legal advice before promoting the competition.

How do I legally raffle my house or car?   

You can only raffle your house or car where the beneficiary (that is, the recipient of all lottery profits after expenses and prize costs are deducted) is a good cause and the organiser/promoter of the lottery is a non-commercial society such as a charity.

The only way in which you may raffle your house or car legally would be via a free draw or prize competition. If you are organising a prize competition or free draw,  it is your responsibility to make sure that you are compliant with the law so as to avoid being an illegal lottery. If in doubt, you should seek legal advice and that’s where we can help.

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