The Ins and Outs of Contests: Entering a Contest

contests, contest rules

By Melissa Beirnes, Articling Student

So you have decided to run a contest and have selected the type of contest you will be running.

The next step in planning is to consider how individuals will enter your contest. This is not as simple as it may appear. Section 206 of the Criminal Code prohibits requiring a potential contest entrant from paying money or other valuable consideration to enter a contest where the winner is chosen by chance or a mix of chance and skill. An example of a contest of mix chance and skill is one where the winner is selected by a random draw followed by a skilled-testing question (STQ).

This does not mean that one method of entry to your contest cannot be through a purchase or other valuable consideration. However, you will also need an alternative method of entry that is does not require payment of money or other valuable consideration.

This alternate form of entry should not impose significant difficulties on the potential contest entrant. That is, it should not be hard for a person to enter the contest through this method. A common example of an alternate form of entry is where the potential contest entrant must request an entry form by sending a self-addressed return envelope with pre-paid postage.

This alternate form of entry should also give the contest entrant the same chances of winning as any other method. All contest entrants must have the same chance of winning, regardless of the method of entry.

All forms of entry should be listed in your contest rules. Your contest rules should be clear and specific on how potential contest entrants can enter the contest.

As a result, it is a good idea to seek legal assistance regarding the method of entry for a contest and all elements of planning a contest, including selecting the type of contest and drafting the contest rules.


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