Where: Northern Ireland
When: 27 April 2022
Law stated as at: 7 June 2022
Until recently, it was not lawful to run a prize draw in Northern Ireland that required an entrant to purchase a product to enter. Any UK-wide promotions that required the purchase of a product therefore needed to either exclude Northern Irish entrants or include a free entry route for Northern Irish entrants to use.
In the rest of the UK, which is subject to the Gambling Act 2005, an arrangement is considered a lottery if, among other things, participants are required to pay to enter. There is an exemption to this rule whereby the cost of purchasing an item does not count as payment to enter – as long as the price isn’t inflated to cover the cost of the prize or running the promotion. For example, if a customer purchases a promotional chocolate bar which also gives the customer the chance to enter a free prize draw, this is not considered “payment to enter” as long as the price of the chocolate bar has not been inflated to reflect the opportunity to participate. Other methods of entry that are not considered ‘payment to enter’ include making a normal rate telephone call or sending an entry form via first- or second-class post.
As of 27 April 2022, the rules in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK are aligned on this issue thanks to the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 (the Act). The Act amends existing legislation – The Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 – by introducing the exemption that applies in England, Scotland and Wales under the Gambling Act 2005.
Promoters running UK-wide purchase-linked promotions therefore no longer need to exclude or provide a free entry route for NI entrants.
Why this matters:
UK-wide purchase-linked promotions can now take place on the same terms. Promoters no longer need to exclude NI from purchase-linked promotions or provide a free entry route for NI entrants.