The Ins and Outs of Contests: Picking a Contest

contests, contest rules

By Melissa Beirnes, Articling Student

So you want to run a contest.

Contests offer a great promotional opportunity. Careful planning, however, is required because you will want to ensure compliance with the applicable law.

The first step in your planning is to decide on the type of contest you want to run. This is not as simple as it may appear. Section 206 of the Criminal Code prohibits contests where the winner is chosen solely by chance. In picking your contest, you will want to select either a contest where skill determines the winner or where the winner is chosen by a combination of chance and skill. You are probably familiar with both types.

The most common example of the latter type of contest is a contest where a potential winner is first selected randomly. This potential winner must then correctly answer a skilled-testing question (STQ) to win the contest prize. The selected potential winner will have to answer the STQ unaided and within a specific, and limited, time-frame, such as twenty-four hours. If the potential winner does not answer the STQ within the time-frame or answers it wrong, then he or she has not won the contest and the same process will need to be repeated.

Care must be taken with the STQ. Not all STQs will constitute a real test of skill. If your contest has a STQ that is too easy then your contest may only be a game of chance.

The same caution applies to contests where a winner is selected by skill. Skill must be the actual basis on which the winner is chosen.

Regardless of the type of contest chosen, your contest rules must always state how a winner will be chosen. Your contest rules should always be specific and clear on how a winner will be selected.

As a result, it is a good idea to seek legal assistance in selecting the type of contest you want to run and all elements of planning a contest, including determining how individual enter the contest and drafting the contest rules.

 

 

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