Q&As

Why do I need a no purchase necessary mechanism for prize promotions in Northern Ireland?

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Produced in partnership with Helen Hart of Institute of Promotional Marketing
Published on LexisPSL on 30/01/2019

The following TMT Q&A produced in partnership with Helen Hart of Institute of Promotional Marketing provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Why do I need a no purchase necessary mechanism for prize promotions in Northern Ireland?
  • The position in Northern Ireland
  • Practical steps

Why do I need a no purchase necessary mechanism for prize promotions in Northern Ireland?

Until 2005, ‘no purchase necessary’ (sometimes referred to as NPN) routes were a common feature of the promotional marketing landscape across the UK. A payment for a product was considered as potentially a payment to enter a promotion, which could have rendered it an illegal lottery under the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976 (LAA 1976).

In Reader’s Digest Association Ltd v Williams, the court clarified that there are three elements to a lottery:

  1. payment

  2. for a chance

  3. to win a prize where the prize is distributed by chance

In Imperial Tobacco Ltd v A-G, the court confirmed that paying for goods or services amounted to payment in this context.

In 2005, the Gambling Act 2005 (GA 2005) came into force in England, Scotland and Wales and repealed LAA 1976. It confirmed the test in the Readers Digest case but changed the law so that payment for a product would not automatically be a payment to enter.

As a result, in Great Britain, running a prize promotion without a skill element where, in order to enter, consumers must buy a product at its usual price, would not be an illegal lottery because the purchase would not be considered to be

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