How to run a giveaway on your blog in Australia

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Introduction

I went through the process of investigating the different State laws and required permits for a giveaway I did in August 2012.  Following is a guide to how run a random draw giveaway on your blog, based on the giveaway I ran using Rafflecopter.  You can also read some thoughts on the practicalities of using Rafflecopter and running giveaways here.

Giveaway parameters

The guide below is relevant to giveaways open to Australian residents for a trade promotion promoting a businesses good or services, with a total prize pool less than $5,000.  The giveaway was promoted online only and was randomly drawn using an electronic drawing system (Rafflecopter).  If your giveaway differs from this, there may be other regulations and permits that apply.

Disclaimer:

The information I provide here is a guide only, based on what I was able to determine from my research with each of the State authorities that govern trade promotions and lotteries.  It is not a definitive source and at the time of reading, may not be up to date.  Please ensure you fully understand the rules that apply to your particular situation before proceeding with a giveaway on your blog or applying for the appropriate permits.

What is a giveaway and how are they regulated?

In most states, an online giveaway that promotes goods or services provided by a business is termed a Trade Promotion or Trade Promotion Lottery.  As the owner of the site running the giveaway, you are responsible for following the appropriate rules and applying for the applicable permits, even if it’s not your own products or services you are giving away.

Do I need a permit?

If you are running a ‘game of skill’ giveaway where the winners are judged solely on the strength of their answer, then you most likely will not require a permit.  BUT you may still be required to meet the terms and conditions in each State for running a trade promotion.  If your giveaway involves any element of chance at all then you need to refer to the rules for ‘game of chance’ promotion.

Note: Asking a skill question to enter the giveaway and then drawing a winner randomly is considered a ‘game of chance’ or ‘random draw’

If you are running a random draw giveaway then the requirements for a permit will depend on who is eligible to enter your promotion.  If you are allowing all residents of Australia to be eligible for entry then the bottom line is that you will require a permit from NSW.  Here are the permit requirements for each State with a link to their regulations:

QLD
No permit required 
Queensland Giveaway Regulations

NT
No permit required 
Northern Territory Giveaway Regulations

ACT
Permit required*      
ACT Giveaway Regulations

If a promotion involving a lottery is conducted via a website a permit is not required unless the website is hosted in the ACT, or the website is not hosted in the ACT but the promotion is being advertised in the ACT in addition to the advertising on the website.  Any advertising on social media ie Twitter or Facebook is considered to be advertising in the ACT, so you pretty much need a permit, or need to exclude ACT.

TAS 
No permit required
Tasmania Giveaway Regulations

VIC 
No permit required
Victoria Giveaway Regulations

NSW
Permit required ($80 fee for promotion $10,000 and less)
Allow 10 working days for processing (better to plan for 15 working days, although my online application was approved overnight)
NSW Giveaway Regulations

SA
No permit required
SA Giveaway Regulations
If using random.org, Rafflecopter or any other form of electronic drawing system, you need to apply for approval.  It is free but there is a process involved – see Drawing section below.

WA
No permit required, but you need to lodge T&C with them via email: rgl@rgl.wa.gov.au.  Just send them an email with “Notification of T&C for Trade Promotion” in the subject.
WA Giveaway Regulations

What regulations do I need to follow?

Regardless of whether you are required to apply for a permit, there are regulations set by each State on how to legally run a trade promotion.  Following is a guide based on the minimum requirements and the State in brackets that it applies to.  If you allow for these you should meet the requirements in each State (pending any changes to regulations).

Entry

  • Must be free, but you can require your readers to buy a product or service to enter.  There are regulations regarding other entry methods like mobile phone calls or texts which I won’t go into here.
  • If any of the prizes are prohibited from sale to someone based on their age, then they are not eligible to enter eg liquor to under 18 year olds
  • Employees, immediate family members, retailers, suppliers, associated companies and agencies are not eligible to enter

Drawing

  • Giveaway MUST be drawn at the time, date and place advised in the Terms and Conditions
    • Note: you can video or do a screencast of the draw in progress for your records
    • The NSW permit will require an address of the place where the draw will take place.  I used our local library to protect my privacy.
    • Prizes must be drawn in descending order of value (unless you have applied for approval to do it otherwise from each State and include the method in your T&Cs)
  • If using an electronic drawing system, you need to apply for approval to use the system (SA only)
    • The approval process is free (application form and info)
    • It can take up to 3 working weeks to approve, you only need approval in time for the draw date.
    • Once your EDS is approved you can use your permit to cover subsequent draws using the same system
    • With your application form you need to provide:

Prizes

  • All States require you to adhere to laws around the supply of prohibited or restricted goods like alcohol and tobacco.  Ensure your prizes are compliant with each State if you are unsure.
  • Liquor CAN NOT be the principal prize (NT)
  • Liquor CAN NOT be used to induce someone to enter ie everyone who enters gets a bottle of wine (SA)
  • The maximum quantity of liquor given as a prize is 20l (NSW)
  • The minimum fulfillment time (ie the time you have to deliver the prize to the winner) is 28 days (VIC/QLD)

Unclaimed Prizes

  • The minimum requirement is to retain an unclaimed prize for 3 months, after which time you need to apply for approval for a re-draw, stating all attempts made to contact the winner (NSW).

Notification

  • Winners must be notified within 2 days of their win with details of how they can claim their prize (NSW)

Announcing Winners

  • If your giveaway was promoted solely via your blog then you only need to publicise the winners on your blog
  • For any prize greater than $250 value (VIC) or $500 (NSW) that was advertised somewhere other than your blog, you may be required to advertise the winner in the print publication in which it was advertised or in a circulating newspaper in the appropriate region/State (NSW/VIC)
  • You cannot use Facebook to advertise the winners of any promotion (other than saying, winners announced on the blog today, with a link)

Admin and Record Keeping

  • You need to keep accurate records of entries and prize distribution for 5 years (QLD).  Other States only require between 3-12 months.
  • You must advise entrant of how their contact details may be used and get their permission to use their details to send prizes or to subscribe them to newsletters
  • You need to have written authorisation from the businesses participating in the giveaway

What do I include in my Terms and Conditions?

Your Terms and Conditions will need to state:

  • the name of the promotion
  • the name, ABN, address and phone number of the Promoter (use a PO Box to protect your privacy)
  • the conditions of entry (including the minimum age of the participants)
  • the closing date and time for the receipt of entries in the lottery
  • the place, date and time of the lottery draw
  • how prizes will be awarded
  • the method for claiming prizes (including any requirement for entrants to be present at the draw)
  • how prize-winners will be notified
  • how the results of the lottery will be published
  •  details of the prizes and their value (including conditions, if any, relating to receiving, accepting or using the prizes).

It may also useful to include the following conditions (as appropriate):

  • Prizes are not redeemable for cash
  • Prizes are not transferable
  • If for any reason beyond the Promoter’s control the agreed prize is not available a product of equal or greater value will be provided.
  • The Promoter is not responsible for prizes once they have been dispatched to the winner.

It is important that you check your Terms and Conditions and ensure they are accurate.  If you need to change them at any point you will need to pay a $100 fee to change your NSW permit, and you will also need to get approval from the other States to make changes or cancel the giveaway after it has commenced.

 

Comments

  1. This is SO helpful! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your research.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing, this is so useful. Surely it doesn’t have to be this involved, can’t the States co-ordinate a bit better?

  3. Helpful – but frankly scary. What a lot of work – I’d prefer to just read the 100-200 entries I usually get and choose a winner :)

  4. Thanks for this and the Rafflecopter post Laney. It all seems a little overhwhelming – especially if you are just planning to give something away that doesn’t even cost the $80 that the NSW permit will!?

  5. Great work Laney……often wondered about all this x

  6. woah…. ok so I’m not going to be applying for a permit any time soon!

    So do the same regulations apply to a ‘game of skill’ give away? Because I’ve had problems in the past with a PR company not having prizes to send out for weeks… does that mean I can be held accountable because I ran the give away??

  7. What a fantastic and comprehensive post Laney! I have the multiple draw permit for NSW and it cost a bomb! It took over 3 week for it to be approved as there was a lot of applications at the time. However the people in the NSW lottery were really nice and really helpful over the phone about how the application was proceeding. I am also currently having the SA permit for the Electronic Drawing System being approved. I couldn’t get your samples to load, but it is probably just my computer. I couldn’t get the source code etc for the application and after contacting the SA Lottery department they let me know how I could get around this and how to get the approval. They were so helpful and lovely!
    I find ACT is the one to be the most confusing. A while back and rang and talked to the department and they did say a permit was necessary no matter what, as you are technically advertising it on your blog with people in the ACT able to see it. They have single permits and also Blanket permits, which are like multiple draw permits but not quite the same. I had to read the fact sheet several times to get my head around it all! Your break down is a very helpful and so well thought out, it will save so many people having to read the terribly interesting factsheets! :D

    • Crash Test Mummy says:

      Thanks Kym. I’d love to hear more about the multiple draw. How much did is cost you and do you charge a fee to brands to recover this? I agree with you about how nice the people are to deal with. I found the staff friendly in every State I called. If the samples are not working I’m happy to email them to anyone. Just email me at mail at crashtestmummy.com.au.

      The latest info from ACT clearly says you don’t need a permit if your giveaway is solely online and you’re not based or hosted in ACT.

      Yes, I’ve read all the fact sheets more times than I care to remember!

      • Kym - Divine Finds says:

        Hi Laney! Sorry for the delay in replying to you. More then happy to chat you about the multi-draw permit and any info you would like.
        The permit cost $550 for last financial year, and that is purchasing and lodging online it is more in person. It was a massive outlay and something I thought I would trial for a year. This year I believe it is $585 online. That is a permit that allows you to host a giveaway with a singular prize of up to $500. There is a slightly cheaper multi-draw permit that allows you to giveaway prizes up to $250 in value. At present I don’t charge businesses although it is something I have been thinking about, although I need to figure out how it work to do that.
        That is really interesting what you said about the ACT, I might have to ring them again and get further clarification. The person I spoke to said I needed a blanket permit for the giveaway to be open to ACT residents, as even though my site is not hosted in the ACT and it is solely online, it was still technically being advertised in the ACT by being on the site itself and people in the ACT could read it. If that makes sense. On my to do list for Monday! :D

        • Kym Laney
          did you get to the bottom of weather a TPL permit was required in ACT?

          • Laney Galligan says:

            According to their T&Cs you don’t, unless your website is hosted in ACT and you are advertising the promotion via other advertising channels as listed. Note that email directly to your members is not considered advertising to the ACT public.

            Website Lotteries
            If a promotion involving a lottery is conducted via a website a permit is not required unless:
            • the website is hosted in the ACT, or
            • the website is not hosted in the ACT but the promotion is being advertised in the ACT in addition to the
            advertising on the website.
            Definition of advertising:
            In this context, “advertised” includes:
            • a notice or mention on television, radio or other public broadcast;
            • a notice or mention in a newspaper, magazine, pamphlet, leaflet, flier, direct mail (specific address), general
            mail (non-specific address), internet, email, SMS, MMS, fax, billboard, sign, poster, banner or other publicly
            available printed material; or
            • any other method of communicating the conduct of the promotion to the public (excluding material forwarded directly to or made available to members only).

  8. Thanks for this one. I was planning to write a post about this but due to the amount of information needed to write, I always procrastinated :) Now I can just point my readers (and for my own future reference) to your post (have set this as a favorite at my Twitter)

    It is scary how many Aussie bloggers are still doing random giveaways but I honestly didn’t know it can be so complicated in Australia until someone pointed it out

    • Crash Test Mummy says:

      It took me a while to get around to writing it for the same reason Michael. It has hard enough wading through all the info in the place I wasn’t sure I wanted to revisit it and rehash it all again. But better that I share what I found out rather than letting everyone else go through it!

  9. Caz Makepeace says:

    I’m sticking to my game of skill I think. sounds less scary and easier!

  10. OMG, what a pain! You must have done tons of work on this, thanks for sharing.

  11. Thanks so much for this post Laney. I’m really over giveaways at the moment, and this makes me wonder if it’s worth it…

  12. Wow! I have so much to learn. I had no idea it was this complicated!!!

  13. Always amazed at how something so simple can be made so difficult! At least you can make a template for T&C’s and just reuse it. Lucky the regulations in W.A. are relatively simply to adhere to although it would’ve paid to have done my research properly before running my first comp oops! Thanks for putting the leg work in!

  14. Thank you for that information. I am just in the process of investigating a Trade Promotion Skills Lottery. It was all very helpful.

  15. Thank you for all the information. I am looking into running a Trade Promotion Skills Lottery and all that you have written is a great help.

  16. Junelle says:

    For SA – does anyone know any companies that do Independent testing report for an Electronic Drawing System?

    • Laney Galligan says:

      Junelle, I just did it myself. I don’t know if there are any companies. If you are going to use Rafflecopter or random.org you can look at the report I’ve included for download. Good luck :)

  17. Hi! Great information! I never thought I’d have to think about getting a permit to hold a giveaway haha. But anyway in terms of ACT specifically, there is a specific exemption for ‘website lotteries’ that are held on a website not hosted in the ACT:

    Website Lotteries
    If a promotion involving a lottery is conducted via a website a permit is not required unless:
    • the website is hosted in the ACT, or
    • the website is not hosted in the ACT but the promotion is being advertised in the ACT in addition to the advertising on the website.

    So unless you’re hosting your website on your computer, your blog is unlikely to be hosted in the ACT ,and therefore the requirement for a permit does not apply.

    Further the NSW information states that the requirement only applies to a ‘trade or business’. So unless you consider your blog a trade or business, and I would think your behaviour in relation to lodging your tax return would be relevant to this, then the NSW requirements do not apply.

    • Laney Galligan says:

      Hi Jiawa – it’s complicated isn’t it? I too thought you didn’t need a permit for ACT, but another blogger was informed by them that she does. This is because you often promote the giveaway via social media like Facebook and Twitter which are public profiles, not just on your website. The NSW requirement applies more to the ‘trade or business’ that you are promoting ie the company giving you product to giveaway. It’s the blog owner that is responsible for applying for the permit because it’s their asset it’s being promoted on and the blog owner also benefits from the promotion (whether you’re a trade/business) or not.

      • Just because ‘they told you so’ doesn’t mean it’s true. Everyone needs to investigate for themselves. Many an an administrative appeal has succeeded on the grounds that the decision maker failed to properly apply the legislation/regulation. The ACT regulations clearly say that the permit does not apply to promotions held on websites not hosted in the ACT, this covers Facebook and Twitter as well by the way, which are hosted internationally. So if I were to receive a fine for not applying for a permit for my blog giveaway I think I would have a pretty potent complaint to the Ombudsman or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. I cannot see how the NSW regulations can be interpreted as saying ‘this applies to a non trade/business as long as they are benefiting from the promotion sponsored by a trade or business’. A plain English interpretation of the language simply does not support this. Further, if it was intended to a cover such situations, it would have expressly provided for that. From what I have read, I would say from a legal perspective it would be very difficult for the regulatory body to argue that its requirements apply to blog hosted giveaways. Of course it is always open to the regulatory body to amend its regulations to do this at any time.

  18. My understanding is that lottery means random picking. So in WA we don’t need permits nor require to lodge T&C.

    If I’m wrong please correct me.

  19. You are my hero! Thank you so much for doing all this research.

  20. Seriously…?? No wonder Australia has a productivity problem. Our Governments are bogging down themselves and enterprising small businesses with this kind of ridiculousness! Thank you so much for your great work researching this.

  21. Thanks for this article Laney. It was very useful!! Looks like I will have to do a little more homework before I hold my first giveaway.

    • Laney Galligan says:

      You’re welcome Sheree. It’s only tricky when you want to do a game of chance draw. So much easier to run a game of skill giveaway :)

Trackbacks

  1. […] How to run a giveaway on your blog in Australia – Games of Chance […]

  2. […] How to run a giveaway on your blog in Australia – Games of Chance […]

  3. […] except for NSW (sorry guys it is an $80 permit to run a competition in NSW read about that here). Sorry to those in Canada as this competition is based on luck not skill, read more about it here. […]

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