If you’re planning on running a prize promotion in the Republic of Ireland, here’s what you need to know.

The Irish government has passed amendments to its Gaming and Lotteries Act which came into effect on 1 December 2020.

The bottom line is that you may need to apply for a lottery licence if you’re running a ‘game of chance’ promotion.

Here’s a checklist, written by a real bona fide legal bod in Ireland…

IS THE PROMOTION A LOTTERY

Does the promotion involve:

  • The distribution of prizes;
  • The distribution of those prizes being based in the main on chance rather than skill*;
  • The payment of consideration**.

If all of these elements are present, the promotion is a lottery.

*where there is a “test of skill” the matter will not be a lottery e.g. prize awarded for the best photograph, with winner being determined by independent judging panel.  However, if there is a test of skill and also an element of chance, the promotion may still be a lottery e.g. the best photographs go into a pool out of which the winner is chosen at random.

**consideration can be payment of money or some other action taken by the consumer to enter the draw e.g. logging onto a website and entering their personal details. No purchase necessary route does not mean that a licence is not required.

IS THE PRIZE POOL UNDER €2,500

If the promotion is a lottery, you do not need a licence where:

  • the lottery is conducted in conjunction with the selling or marketing of a particular product;
  • the total value of the prizes is not more than €2,500*, and
  • there is no charge for taking part in the lottery other than the purchase of the product concerned (if such is required) and there is no additional charge for the redemption of a prize.

*there is, at present, uncertainty around whether this cap applies to the total prize pool or the prize distributed following each “winning moment”.

IS THE PRIZE POOL UNDER €5,000

Where the prize pool is less than €5,000, you may apply to An Garda Síochána (the Irish police) for a permit.  The following should be noted in particular:

  • the application should be made to the Garda Superintendent where the applicant resides. There is no provision stating what to do where the applicant is based outside of Ireland.
  • the relevant application form can be obtained from the Superintendent;
  • the application should be lodged at least 60 days before the first day on which it is intended to promote the lottery.

HOW TO APPLY FOR A LOTTERY LICENCE

If the promotion is a lottery, and you do not fulfil the criteria for an exemption or a permit, you should apply to the District Court for a lottery licence. The following should be noted in particular:

  • the application should be made at least 60 days before the first day on which it is intended to promote the lottery;
  • at least 28 days’ notice of the application should be given to An Garda Síochana;
  • the holder of the licence is not allowed to derive any personal profit from the licence. It remains to be seen how the Courts will interpret “personal profit” in respect of advertising promotions;
  • the value of the prize and intended beneficiary should be printed on pack and in terms and conditions;
  • the prize pool shall not be more than €30k in any one week or €360k in any year;
  • not more than 25% of the total proceeds shall be retained by the holder of the licence and utilised for the expenses of promotion;
  • not more than 75% of the total proceeds shall be allocated to prizes;
  • not less than 25% of the total proceeds shall be allocated to a charitable or philanthropic purpose

NOTE: This checklist is only intended as assistance and we always recommend that you get advice specific to your situation.

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