Competition licences and permits remain one of the most confusing aspects of running a competition for many businesses. One of the most common things we’re asked about in our strategy sessions is competition permits.
We’ve written an extensive guide to help you work out whether or not you need a licence or permit for your competition in Australia, but there are still three myths about competition licensing that persist and add to the confusion of running a legal competition.
So it’s time to bust those competition permit and licensing myths…
Everybody knows you need adequate explosives to bust myths.
Myth 1: You need a licence in every state to run a competition.
You will only need a licence or permit for the states your competition is open to.
That means the states and territories your potential entrants live in. If you only open your competition to residents of New South Wales, for example, you only need to apply for relevant permits and licences in New South Wales.
If you are only opening your competition to residents of certain states or territories; remember to include a condition in your terms and conditions outlining exactly who is eligible to enter.
Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania do not require licences for competitions regardless of whether they’re a game of chance or a game of skill and regardless of the prize value.
You can find out more about each state’s licensing rules in our competition licences guide.
Myth 2: You don’t need a licence if your prize is under $1,000.
I don’t know where this myth originated, but it’s entirely untrue.
If you’re running a game of chance competition in Australia, you will need a licence – at least – for NSW, even if your prize is only worth $1. There is no exemption from needing a licence if your competition is open to NSW residents and is a game of chance. Even if your prize is only worth $1. We don’t make the rules, we just follow them.
As for the other states… ACT requires a licence for games of chance with prizes worth over $3,000 AUD and South Australia and Northern Territory require competition licences for prizes worth over $5,000 AUD if they are games of chance. The Northern Territory Government won’t require you to apply for a licence if you have a valid licence for another state for the same competition – handy to know!
This is a strange little myth that seems to have spread far and wide. It’s a little tidbit I see people mistakenly repeat on an all too regular basis, so we can confirm once and for all that this myth is BUSTED.
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Myth 3: I only need a licence for the state where I live/where my business is based.
Another popular competition licence misconception.
Just like we said in Myth 1, above, you need a licence or permit for the states your competition is open to… not just for the state or territory where your business is based or registered.
Licences depend on where your competition is promoted and to which states it’s open to. For example, if your company is registered in Queensland, but you’re running a competition open to New South Wales residents via Facebook, you still need a licence for NSW if it’s a game of chance.
If your contest or giveaway is open nationwide, you’ll need to check licensing and permit requirements for each state and territory, or risk hefty fines or even jail time for non-compliance.
Luckily for you, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to competition and permit requirements in Australia so you can be confident your competition won’t land you in hot water.
Let’s look at these competition permit myths in practice…
Let’s say you own a bricks and mortar sporting goods store based in Melbourne. You plan to run a game of chance competition via Facebook to give away a footy gift pack worth $599 AUD.
You’re opening your competition up to the whole of Australia, because you offer online ordering and ship nationwide, so you’re aiming to generate sales across Australia with your competition.
You ask around in some Facebook groups about competition licences… one person is adamant you won’t need a licence because your prize is only worth $599 and someone else is insistent that you only need one in Victoria because that’s where your store is based.
They’re both wrong.
As your competition is open nationwide, you need to check your competition permit obligations in every state and territory you’re open to. That includes New South Wales, where of course you now know you need a licence for a game of chance, regardless of your prize value (see Myth 2).
You check the rules for ACT, South Australia and Northern Territory, as you now know that Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania don’t require licences for games of chance. You realise you won’t need to apply for any further licences as your prize is under the thresholds for ACT ($3,000), SA and NT (both $5,000 AUD).
So you apply for your NSW licence, launch your competition and see sales of footy merch soar, all the while staying on the right side of the law and busting competition licensing myths as you go.
So there you have it, three common competition permit and contest licensing myths busted. Now you know you only need licences for the states/territories your competition is open to and that there is no magical exemption for licensing if your prize is worth under $1,000 AUD. You also know you can check here for the most up to date competition licensing and permit rules which we update on a regular basis to ensure your competition is compliant.
We know competition legals are scary and confusing. You don’t want to do the wrong thing and put your business in jeopardy for a competition. We get it… But we also get licences and permits – it’s what we do all day, every day. So if you need a hand applying for your competition permit or want to chat to us to double check you understand your contest licensing obligations, get in touch with us, we’re always happy to help!