A ruckus has erupted over a raffle held at the Australian Society of Travel Writers’ Christmas lunch, held in Brisbane in December 2013.
At the lunch, members were invited to place their cards in a champagne bucket, for the chance to win two nights’ accommodation in Macau. Long standing member of the Society, Glyn May, recognised the first card drawn as that of his friend and fellow Society member, Peter Cole. Mr May alleges that the card was examined by the Society members conducting the raffle (including the President), before being set aside and another card drawn. Mr May asserts that no explanation was given to the audience as to why this occurred. The second card drawn was that of Channel 7 Queensland presenter, Dean Miller, who was awarded the prize (there’s no suggestion of wrongdoing by Mr Miller). Mr May alleges that Mr Miller was not entitled to the prize, as he was a non-member.
Mr May lodged a complaint with the Queensland Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR), alleging that the Society breached s95 of the Charitable and Non-Profit Gaming Act 1999 and Schedule 5 of the Charitable and Non-Profit Gaming Rules 2010 (which governs the conduct of promotional games). Section 95(1) of the Act states that
A person conducting a game must ensure the prize for the game is given to the winner in the way prescribed under a rule, unless the person has a reasonable excuse for not doing so.
Failure to comply carries a fine of 200 penalty units (approximately $22,000). Section 96 of the Act sets out how complaints must be dealt with – in a nutshell, complaints must be made to the president of the Society, who must then promptly investigate such claims and, if the claim is denied, give reasons for doing so.
In this case, the President stated that Mr Cole was denied the prize, as he is an officeholder of the Society. (Presumably, under the rules of the raffle, officeholders were unable to receive the prize. We have not seen the rules, so cannot comment definitively on this.)
At the conclusion of its investigation, OLGR formally reminded the Society of its obligations under the legislation, but took no further action.
And then what happened?
Not satisfied with this, in February 2015 Mr May raised a further allegation with OLGR – namely that the conduct of the raffle by the Society involved cheating under s106 of the Act, which provides:
(1) A person must not, in conducting or playing a game, dishonestly obtain a benefit.
(2) For subsection (1), a person obtains a benefit if the person obtains for the person or another person, or induces a person to deliver, give or credit a benefit to the person or another person.
The maximum penalty for a breach of s106(1) is 200 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment. OLGR has confirmed that investigations are ongoing.
What’s the takeout from all this?
Without a copy of the rules to examine, we cannot comment on whether the allegations of cheating have much weight. However, if nothing else, this example shows how vitally important it is to conduct promotional games strictly in accordance with both the relevant legislation, and the rules pertaining to the game itself.
How can I ensure my raffle/promotion is conducted legally?
Contact us! Go to www.khqapproved.com.au. We regularly assist clients (both large and small) with promotional games, be they raffles or trade promotions (chance or skill). We can help you structure your promotion to ensure it complies with all relevant laws, and advise you on what you need to do to ensure you conduct your promotion legally.
Go to www.khqapproved.com.au. As this example clearly demonstrates, it only takes one complaint to trigger an investigation from relevant gaming authorities.