Competition terms and conditions are the rules which govern how you conduct the competition, who can enter and how someone can enter. Competition terms and conditions are important to make the conditions of entry clear, to avoid confusion, complaints and disputes.
When drafting competition terms and conditions it is important to ensure that key terms are easily understood, are reasonable and clear to entrants. It is very important to ensure that each entrant has an equal chance of winning a prize.
Dates and timing
In competition terms and conditions you will need to state the various dates applicable to the competition including:
- The open date: when you will begin accepting entries;
- The close date: when the competition closes and entries can no longer be accepted (Note: the close date must be no more than 12 months after the open date)
- The draw date: when you will conduct the draw (Note: The draw date must be within 1 month of the close date);
- The publish date: when you will publish winners (Note: winners must be notified by email or mail within 2 business days of the draw and, if applicable, published within 1 month online or in a newspaper);
- Prize delivery: must occur within 28 days of the draw date;
- The unclaimed prize draw date: when, if prizes are unclaimed, you will conduct a further draw to distribute those winners (Note: the unclaimed prize draw must occur 3 months after the initial draw unless the prize must be taken by a particular date- in which case a reasonable amount of time should be provided); and
- The unclaimed prize draw publication date: when, if an unclaimed prize draw was required, you will publish those winners (Note: as with the original draw, winners must be notified by email or mail within 2 business days of the draw and, if applicable, published within 1 month online or in a newspaper).
It is important to ensure that you check that your dates take into account public holidays. i.e. you would not want to schedule a draw on a Saturday morning or on Christmas eve!
When noting times ensure you consider if Day Light Savings applies i.e. in NSW.
The prizes must be adequately described in terms and conditions for permits to be issued. For example saying that an entrant can win a holiday to NZ would be insufficient. The level of detail supplied for a holiday prize should include the class and number of flights, the departure city, the departure dates (if restricted), they type of tickets, the value of tickets, the type of accommodation (including Room type, number of nights, and name or rating of hotel), confirmation on what activities are included, confirmation on whether transfers are included and the RRP value of each component. All flight associated taxes and surcharges i.e. energy surcharges must be included in the prize, i.e. it is not okay to award a prize that a winner needs to put money towards to take.
The state gaming authorities specify mandatory information that must be included in all advertising of a competition. This includes the permit numbers, key dates, any restriction on who can enter, how to enter, the Promoter’s details and the permit numbers.
Some of the common pitfalls with competition rules include:
- Not checking that the dates are achievable i.e. that enough time is allowed between submitting terms for permits and the open date (or the date that the competition is advertised);
- Failing to ensure that the dates comply with the requirements i.e. that an unclaimed prize draw is conducted more than 3 months after the initial draw; and
- Failing to adequately describe a prize.
Terms and conditions should be reviewed by a qualified lawyer. The above is a summary of the general requirements and is not intended on being a comprehensive outline of the requirements.