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Senior Partner
Senior Partner, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 13329
Experience:  Solicitor with more than 30 years experience
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So I have a subscription based online magazine and video service

Customer Question

So I have a subscription based online magazine and video service and I want to reward my loyal paid subscribers by entering them into a random draw each month.

What are the legalities of doing this and promoting it.?

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Senior Partner replied 4 years ago.
As long as entry is for everyone and it is entirely free i.e. all subscribers are automatically entered then it will not be a lottery and therefor not subject to regulation.

Lotteries are only unlawful if they are not free to enter.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
My concern is that my subscribers pay to become a subscriber so is this classed as payment to enter. Also where do I stand if I promote that a benefit of becoming a paid subscriber is to be included in a free monthly draw as well as what they are purchasing ie the subscription.
Expert:  Senior Partner replied 4 years ago.
If you promote this as a benefit then it may fall foul of the rules about lotteries because the definition under the Gambling Act of a lottery includes payment that are not specific i.e. if someone has to pay to enter even if they do not know they are paying.

The easy way round it is provide an alternative free route to enter. This is, for example, what most newspapers do when they promote free draws. So you can allow anyone who wishes to to enter by writing in or registering on your website whether or not they are subscribers. You can put a note on your website to that effect. So subscribers can enter but anyone else can if they comply with the alternative channel. It is still deemed free entry even if you have to pay of reportage or a telephone call.