Competitions in Australia – online and mobile regulations

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Empello has been working recently with clients to launch Competition products into the Australian market, and I wanted to share some key regulatory requirements related to this. Note that this is a basic overview, and is not intended to serve as detailed or legal advice, which you should take before launching a service.

On top of the Australian rules for running Mobile / SMS Billed services, there are some important Government regulations which cover the area of Competitions or Lotteries. Under certain circumstances permits are needed, depending on the exact competition mechanic as well as the Australian states where the competition is running.

Games of Skill

The first question is whether your competition will be categorised as a game of skill, in which case a permit will not generally be required. For the competition to be classified as involving skill, there must be an element which is based on knowledge, judgement or expertise, as opposed to determination by random means out of control of the participant.

A skill-based competition must have a finite, defined number of winners, and there must not be any random element involved in the selection of the winners. In these cases a permit is not required.

Games of Chance

If your competition does not meet the criteria outlined above, it will be classified as a game of chance and a permit will be required in some Australian states.

South Australia, Victoria, Northern Territory

A permit is not needed provided the competition prize is classified as a “minor lottery”, in other words the prize value is less than $5,000 AUD. For further information see the following state websites: South AustraliaVictoriaNorthern Territory

New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

Permits are required for all “games of chance” promotions regardless of prize value. For further information see the following state websites: New South WalesACT

Queensland, Tasmania, Western Australia

Permits are not generally required to operate online promotions regardless of prize value. For further information see the following state websites: QueenslandTasmaniaWestern Australia.

Other legal and regulatory requirements

There are of course a number of other requirements which need to be considered when launching a Competition service in Australia, not least of which are the Mobile Operator rules and policies, which detail extensive needs for areas such as Payment pages and Subscription services.

Before launching these types of services, Empello would recommend an in-depth review of Competitions and other regulatory/ mobile operator requirements. Although the requirements in this area are quite extensive, the Competitions market in Australia is generally a very successful one, and Empello would be pleased to support companies who are considering an entry into this market.


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