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Global Compliance Requirements for each Country: Prize Draws, Giveaways, Competitions, Sweepstakes and Contests

An International Compliance and Risk Map for Prize Promotions

Simply click each country to receive an overview of the compliance landscape, including top level risk assessments, attitude towards skill based competitions/contests, attitude towards chance based prize draws/giveaways/sweepstakes, localisation requirements, registration requirements and other useful information.

Please note that this international compliance database is in its early stages and as such countries will be added constantly. Please check back regularly for new countries to be added and for expansions to existing countries.

Please note: the country summaries linked herein are intended to be overviews at a glance and do not constitute comprehensive and up-to-the-minute compliance advice. If you are planning to run a prize promotion in one or multiple countries, please get in contact and we would be happy to discuss requirements and how we may assist.

What can happen if my prize promotion is not compliant? What are the risks?

Depending on the countries you are running your prize promotion in, the level of oversight, severity of sanctions or penalties, and how regularly they are applied will vary significantly. Some government departments are more activist than others. Some compliance bodies exist only to guide promoters in the right direction and will engage in good faith, other compliance bodies will seek financial redress. In extreme cases imprisonment can be levied as punishment.

Can I use one set of “global terms and conditions” for the whole world?

If you as promoter wish to be compliant with the countries that you are targeting with your contest or sweepstake then a single set of terms and conditions will almost certainly not be strictly compliant. Countries have individual rules and requirements, notably around regionalisation (i.e. presentation in local language), exclusions around certain mechanics (e.g. chance based prize draw), exclusions around certain prizes (e.g. cash or alcohol) registration requirements, tax requirements, fees, and bonding requirements to name a few.

What is extra-territoriality in prize promotions?

Extra-territoriality is where a country (“country A”) or region determines that your prize promotion, notionally administered from “country B” is subject to their laws and codes. Generally speaking, if you are attracting, marketing to, targeting citizens of country A, country A’s authorities may deem your promotion subject to their compliance requirements. Most countries take this approach, and have varying levels of activism in this regard.

If I am running a prize promotion across multiple countries or states, can I exclude specific countries or states?

Absolutely. If certain requirements are onerous or prohibitive you can exclude states, regions or countries from your prize promotion. It is important to be clear on what these exclusions are in your terms and conditions and to be up front with entrants who would otherwise potentially enter.

Can I run a competition or contest (i.e. skill based prize promotion) everywhere in the world?

Generally speaking, skill based campaigns – where winners are determined on the basis of skill or merit are the most broadly permitted type of prize promotion globally and are arguably the “safest” type of promotion to run across different territories, providing the promotion is administered properly. Skill based promotions are subject to the fewest restrictions in terms of registration, taxes, cross border requirements and prizes. Countries are often more tolerant of “payment to enter” or “purchase necessary” where the promotion is a competition or contest. The opposite is true for “payment to enter” or “purchase necessary” where the promotion is a prize draw or sweepstake, many countries are more restrictive.

It is extremely important that any promotion relying on exemptions for skill based promotions does not involve any chance based elements, even if minor or trivial. If authorities can observe random entrant selection on the basis of chance they will typically treat the entire promotion as being chance based for the purposes of compliance.

Can I run a prize draw, sweepstake or giveaway (i.e. chance based prize promotion) everywhere in the world?

Chance based campaigns are subject to a greater number of restrictions compared to skill based campaigns, although there are a great many countries who permit them without major conditions and only a tiny minority who outright prohibit them. They are generally subject to greater coverage as regards laws and codes, are sometimes subject to registration requirements, taxes, bonding and prize restrictions. However their greatest limitation in some countries is around “payment to enter” or “purchase necessary”. This is in general to prevent chance based promotions falling into the definition of gambling (an “illegal lottery”). Many countries offer exemptions allowing purchase necessary prize draws where a purchase is made of a promotional product that is not more expensive than its normal non-promotional equivalent (i.e. there is no “premium” to pay), or where a low-cost (non-premium) phone call or text is used as entry, or where a “no purchase necessary” (NPN) entry route is provided. The differences in requirements between countries regarding purchase necessary prize draws and sweepstakes can be subtle but it is important to observe these differences and ensure compliance with each country in a strict way as there is greater scrutiny over games of chance where a purchase is made.

Can I give away cash as a prize in all countries?

No, cash is not permitted in a small minority of countries, though this is more often the case where a chance based promotion is involved.

Is it expensive to be fully compliant with multiple countries?

No, it needn’t be expensive to ensure your prize promotion is fully compliant. Indeed it may be significantly cheaper than a penalty, legal fee, or unexpected tax bill from a country who has caught your promotion out. Contest PR work on a straightforward project fee basis, can quote country or region fees upfront, and can advise on countries that are likely not to justify the compliance effort.

Disclaimer: The information on this page and individual country summary pages are not substitutes for formal compliance advice and Contest PR do not make any warranty regarding accuracy or completeness. They are highly simplified general guides and may not be up to date at the time of reading.