Australian Online Competition Permits: Do I Really Need One?

Thinking of running an online competition? Of course you are. Online competitions are wonderful ways to generate buzz and build momentum around your online presence, an important tool in your marketing toolkit. So, it may take you aback that Australia is one of few countries in the world that require a permit to run an online competition (depending on the State or Territory in which you dwell). In this article we look at whether you need an Australian online competition permit.

First, some lingo to master.

There are two categories to consider, one that doesn’t require a permit, the other that might. (It is worth saying upfront that in each case, online competition entry must be free. That is, you don’t charge an entry fee. Slap a price on it and never mind a permit, you’re entering into license territory.)

A Game of Skill

A Game of Skill is any competition that requires a judge to select a winner or in which public votes determine the outcome based on merit or skill. In other words, it involves a voting mechanism and the winner is NOT randomly chosen.

A Game of Skill does NOT require a permit. So, if in your competition, you’re playing the judge (or you’ve nominated a judge) and the winner is chosen on expertise, you don’t require a permit. The same is true if you choose your winner through the meritorious votes cast by your audience.

A Game of Chance

A Game of Chance is any competition in which a winner is drawn randomly. In other words, the winner is selected by chance; luck determines the outcome.

It is here that a permit may be required in Australia depending on which State you’re in—and I’m not referring to the state of your mind 🙂  (Sorry, but you knew that one was coming at some point, right?)

Australian Online Competition Permits

New South Wales

At the time of writing, a permit is required for all competitions that are considered Games of Chance. 

South Australia

At the time of writing, a permit is not required if the prize is worth less than $5,000.

Northern Territory

At the time of writing, a permit is not required if the prize is worth less than $5,000.

ACT

At the time of writing, a permit is not required if the prize is worth less than $3,000.

Queensland

At the time of writing, a permit is not required.

Western Australia

At the time of writing, a permit is not required.

Tasmania

At the time of writing, a permit is not required.

Victoria

At the time of writing, a permit is not required.

To Sum It All Up…

Live in NSW? You need to procure a permit for a Game of Chance regardless of the prize.

Live in SA, NT or ACT? Keep your prize under the prescribed amount and you won’t need a permit.

Elsewhere? You’ve little to worry about … other than conducting a lawful and fair competition, of course.


 

The Last Word on The Matter?

My original goal was to include links to all the relevant pages and transform this humble post into the last glorious word and testament on the matter. But alas! My noble aspiration was thwarted.

Many of the websites in question regularly change their pages. Why? Possibly to keep us guessing. Or to keep mugs like me from having the last word on the matter.

In other words, it wouldn’t be long before this content would be fraught with broken links. That would frustrate you and make me look bad. And we can’t have that. (Yes, to both 🙂 )

So, use this information as a guideline before doing your own research on what’s required in your State or Territory. In most cases, online competitions are considered Trade Promotion Lotteries. Do a Google search for this phrase, Trade Promotion Lotteries or this phrase, Trade Promotion Permits … and check out any .gov.au sites in the search results.

And yes, there are companies that assist in the process of procuring the necessary permits. In this case, you may want to do a search for online competition permit services … especially if you live in NSW.

I hope that all helps.

(The Inevitable) Disclaimer

My primary goal is to first make you aware that in some Australian States, a permit is required for online competitions. Along with that, I hoped to introduce you to some of the lingo used to aid you in your search of these requirements. It goes without saying that I’m not a legal expert and cannot be held liable for any changes to the information herein disclosed.

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