LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Gambling law has been seen as a minefield as there are several pieces of different legislation for different types of gambling. It was hoped that the Gambling Act 2005 would finally provide promoters with some clarity as to what is and is not legal. However, when the Gambling Act 2005 comes into force on 1st September 2007, promoters will still need to take care to ensure that they are not unwittingly involved with consumer competitions which fall foul of the new law. The borderline between legal prize competitions and free prize draws on the one hand and illegal lotteries on the other remains unclear in a number of respects. Essentially, to avoid a lottery, either there must be no payment by participants to enter or there must be a sufficient degree of skill required. However, the Act will change the interpretation of both of these concepts considerably.
As a result of industry concern regarding the ambiguity as to what these two concepts require, the Gambling Commission (“GC”) conducted a consultation exercise and has now published revised guidance in advance of the coming into force of the Gambling Act 2005. This guidance provides some useful information as to how promoters can design schemes so as to avoid falling within the definition of an illegal lottery.
The guidance can be found at the following link.
In addition, the GC has just announced the findings from its consultation into gambling advertisements. One of the main points considered was whether advertisements should include mandatory social responsibility messages. The GC has decided that advertisements should include a reference to the website www.gambleaware.co.uk. An industry advertising code of practice will also be developed and that should be put in place prior to 1 September 2007 to include all of its recommendations as to social responsibility. It is intended that this will be a voluntary code of practice.