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BEST PRACTICE: Playing fair with competitions and prize draws

You want your distributors, or your business customers, to buy more of your product. You spot that the Gambling Act, when it came into force on September 1, gives you the opportunity to run a prize draw for everyone who makes a purchase. The real winner is you as you no longer have to offer customers that traditional ‘no purchase necessary' option to enter - that factor that used to undermine the whole point of your promotion. For the first time you can ensure that everyone who enters the prize draw has actually bought the product, and, even better for your company, the more they buy, the better their chance of winning.

Freed from the restrictions of offering free entry, you can offer a massive first prize - so why not bump up the cost of your product by a few pounds to take advantage of the surge in demand you're expecting? The extra revenue you generate will cover the cost of the prizes. It's good business. You're driving sales, you're entering into the deregulatory spirit of the Gambling Act, and everyone, including you, is a winner.

Wrong. If the Gambling commission catches you running this type of promotion then you're facing a fine; even, potentially, a jail sentence.