UPDATED JULY 2020
The rules have now officially changed. As of 1 July 2020, you will only need to apply for a permit (or authority) to run a trade promotion competition open to NSW if your prize or total prize pool is valued at $10,000 or more.
Back in August 2016, Liquor and Gaming NSW (L&GNSW), the government body who looked after competition permits and licences at the time, announced they were consulting the public on proposed changes to remove red tape for small businesses and make running a trade promotion (competition or giveaway to you and I) much easier, quicker and cheaper by scrapping the need for a licence if your prize is valued at under $10,000.
Well, it’s been 3 years and there’s still no official legislation change. Boo. Here’s the lowdown on the highly anticipated changes.
What are the current competition licence requirements for NSW?
Currently, by law, if your game of chance competition is open to NSW residents then you need a competition permit from Fair Trading NSW – the government body that now regulates competition licences – regardless of your prize’s value.
The licence fee for prizes valued at under $10,000 is $80 and although it’s one of the more reasonably priced licences in Australia, $80 is still a considerable sum to a small business, especially if the prize you’re giving away is of a similar or lesser value.
You can read more about game of chance permits in NSW here.
What are the proposed changes?
The review to the Lotteries and Art Unions Act 1901 (yes… 1901) encompasses a range of lotteries, raffles and games of chance run by both charities and privately owned businesses. It includes a number of proposed reforms to permit requirements, penalties for non-compliance and legislative updates, but the most important potential change you need to be aware of for your competition is this beautiful little sentence right here:
“The following activities will no longer require a permit… Trade promotions with total prize value less than $10,000 (previously permits were always required)”
Please bear in mind that this is still a proposal and the permit laws have not yet been changed (as at the time of updating in July 2019) so you still need a licence until the laws are officially changed.
Has anything changed?
In all honesty, not a huge amount, but there have been a couple of updates.
- As mentioned above, the management and issuing of licences have moved from Liquor and Gaming NSW to Fair Trading, read into that what you will.
- A new piece of legislation, the Community Gaming Act 2018 No 60 has appeared on the NSW legislation website, however, as the site notes it doesn’t look as though the act has commenced and unfortunately, there’s no mention of prize pool values…
How does this affect me?
Right now, it doesn’t.
No changes have come into effect yet – if they even will.
What will it mean if if comes into effect?
You’re probably wondering why we’re so excited about this proposed change… Besides being complete geeks for anything related to competitions and giveaways, we’re really, genuinely pleased to see the NSW government taking steps to help remove barriers for small businesses and encourage businesses to promote their services without the need to pay a fee.
Realistically, this means that if your competition is a game of chance and your prize is valued at under $3,000, you’re free to run your competition without the need for a single licence and the $80 you used to have to spend on a licence can be put towards promoting your competition and building your business once the changes come into effect. Win win!
Awesome news, so when do these changes come into effect?
As per the official update published in August 2017, the changes were set to come into effect as of January 2018, but at the time of writing in July 2019, there’s still no word from Fair Trading about when we can expect to see the licence requirements relaxed.
We do regularly contact Fair Trading by email and phone when arranging licences for clients and we always, always ask for updates as well as being on their mailing list to receive updates so the second we find out the new limits apply, we’ll let you know – and probably arrange a street party, because it’s been a bloody long time in the making!
Don’t worry, you’ll be invited.
Remember, these changes have not yet come into effect, so you still need to apply for those pesky licences in the mean time.
If you’re planning a game of chance competition that’ll require a licence in NSW and need a hand getting your licence application done, you might want to check out our T&Cs, Rules and Licences package…
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Join the discussion 4 Comments
Actually, this is incorrect, it hasn’t changed. I’ve just double checked with the NSW Office of Fair Trading, and if you’re a small business running a game of chance, you still need that $138 permit. The details are here: https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/games-of-chance/promoting-a-business/trade-promotion-lottery.
So although the NSW government might have been thinking about making changes, they haven’t as of October 2018.
Thanks so much for your comment, re-reading the article (which was originally published very excitedly in August 2017!) I realised that it made it sound as though the changes had come into effect, when you’re quite right, they haven’t yet.
We’ve updated the article for clarity and given you a little thanks for pointing it out. We were so excited about the change that we jumped the gun and assumed the changes would have come into effect already. On the plus side though, the licence cost is only $80 instead of $138 when you apply online. Small wins, hey?
Thanks for taking time to comment 🙂
Head Competition Nerd and Gun-Jumper
This is a great article on recent changes, though I’m not sure how this applies to me.
I run Emerald and Aqua a holiday home management agency in the Illawarra , NSW and our intended competition is$300 discount on accommodation booked, when/to whoever: a) like our FB page + syndicates/amplify and share our ‘offer’ the Most via social media and get as many people (friends, family and people on the street) to tweet, share via FaceBook and Google+ etc etc to win the discounted accommodation at: http://www.emeraldaqua.com.au
So how would this be viewed??
Fantastic question! Your comment implies that every person who likes your page and shares your offer on social media will get the $300 discount, if that’s the case then that wouldn’t fall under a game of chance as there is no draw for the winner and no competition between participants. It’s simply a discount offered to all who complete the actions. However, you do also say whoever shares the offer ‘the most via social media’ – so if there is one winner, or multiple winners, chosen by how many times they share the post and not chosen by chance (picking a name at random) then this is technically a game of skill as the winner is chosen based on the skill they’ve displayed in gaining the most shares (similar to a high score at a games arcade).
If you decide to put everyone who shares your post during a specified period into a spreadsheet – or hat! – then this becomes a game of chance, where talent and quality of the entry is not the determining factor in choosing the winner, but chance or randomness is.
Either way, whatever entry method you decide, make sure you make it incredibly clear exactly what your entrants have to do in order to qualify, especially if a minimum number of shares or specific shares on specific networks are required! This not only lets your entrants know what they have to do and what to expect, but also protects your business from losing too much money by giving out too many discounts.
I hope that helps!
Suki – Chief Giveaway Guru