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Competition Permits

Running a competition/trade promotion in Australia can be confusing.
First not all competitions require trade permits. Second, each state has it’s own governing body regulating how competitions must be run within their jurisdiction.
Here we demystify things so you can be better informed. Please note this is a general guide and legal counsel should always be sought.

Step 1: Establish Competition Type

There are generally two types of competitions; Games of Skill and Games of Chance.

Game of Skill – A Game of Skill requires the entrant to answer a question (e.g ‘In 25 words or less tell us why you love our brand so much’), submit something (e.g ‘Tell us what our new brand name should be and win’) or even guess something (e.g ‘How many marbles are in the jar’) where they entry will be assessed by the promoter on merit/skill. Games of Skill generally do not require trade permits in any state, however certain rules do apply.

Game of Chance – A Game of Chance is where entrants have a chance to win as part of a random draw. Entry is free but can be contingent on certain factors (e.g purchase of a product or meeting KPI’s). Games of Chance require a trade permit in some states depending on the total prize pool value. It is a requirement of those states that the trade permit be acquired before the competition can commence.

Games Of Chance should not be confused with Lotteries. Lotteries cost the entrant to participate and have their own rules and regulations.

Step 2: State Bodies & Requirements

If you are running a national ‘Game of Chance’ competition then all state requirements must be adhered to, otherwise compliance to respective states in which you chose to run a competition is necessary. Use the following table as a reference in terms of which state requires what:

State Prize Value Requires Application Governing Body or Authority
ACT $Any Yes ACT Gambling & Racing Commission
NSW $Any Yes NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing
NT $5,000> A trade lottery permit issued by another Australian State or territory is accepted in the Northern Territory without further approval NT Department of Business
QLD $Any No – however must comply with legislative requirements QLD Office of Gaming & Liquor
SA $Any Yes SA Consumer & Business Services
TAS $NA No TAS Department of Treasury & Finance
VIC $Any No – however must comply with legislative VIC Commission for Gambling & Liquor
WA $Any No – however must comply with legislative requirements Gaming & Wagering Commission of WA

Fees can vary depending on the total prize pool value. It may seem like a lot of reading, compliance and paperwork however (generally speaking) for NT, QLD, TAS and WA if you have acquired a permit from either NSW, VIC, SA or ACT then you are more likely than not complying with their regulations already. Remember where a trade permit is required it must be acquired before the competition start date.

Step 3: Trade Permit Application Process

Once you have determined which states require application (remember only ACT, NSW, SA & VIC require physical applications):

  1. You’ll need to complete your terms and conditions for the competition.
    One set of T&C’s will cover all states assuming you meet their specific requirements which are broadly the same. Qualified legal counsel can draft these for you; alternatively you can try yourself (it is always recommended you have a legal representative sign off on these). If you intend to draw your winners electronically then it is a requirement to use an approved software like DrawMyComp. You will need to include this in your T&C’s and supply the necessary DrawMyComp software Approval Letters.
  2. Visit the relevant state Authority and download the latest application form.
    Note, forms (and pricing) can change so it’s important to ensure you download the latest forms each time you apply rather than rely on older forms you may have on file. Some states offer online applications too.
  3. Ensure you complete your applications accurately and in full. Applications can be rejected for the smallest of inconsistencies which, depending on the timing of your competition can mean you won’t get your trade permits in time. Invest the time early to avoid headaches down the track.
  4. Submit your applications with full payment and allow 1-3 weeks (assuming there are no issues with your application). In many cases permits are received within a few days, however always allow yourself the maximum time to account for any peak periods and/or issues with your application. VIC requires the applicant to also submit a valid National Police Certificate. You can apply for this via the VIC Commission or apply yourself and supply the original certificate with your application. This can take a few weeks to acquire, so ensure you allow for this. Once your certificate is on file future applications will generally move quickly. 

Once you have received your Trade Permits you’ll need to include them with your T&C’s which (as a requirement) need to be displayed on all marketing collateral
(both online and offline).