A giveaway or prize draw can be a great way to create a buzz around your brand and attract new customers. However, there are strict laws around running a prize draw and selecting winners in the UK. You must follow the rules to ensure no negative consequences for your brand.

In this blog, we’ll cover everything you need to know about running a prize draw legally in the UK and how to select your winners. 


What is a prize draw or giveaway?

Typically, a prize draw doesn’t involve any element of skill or merit, and the winners are selected randomly. This makes it different from running a contest or prize competition, where entrants are usually judged by their knowledge or skill. For example, if participants who successfully answer a complex maths problem receive a prize (or are entered into a random draw to receive a prize), it would be classified as a prize competition. 

For more information on prize competitions, check out our blog, ‘Running prize competitions in the UK’.


Rules around prize draws in the UK

If you’re considering running a prize draw in the UK, the good news is that you don’t need a licence or special permission. However, your prize draw or giveaway must meet the requirements of the 2005 Gambling Act. 

To run a prize draw in the UK, you’ll need to make it free to enter or provide an alternative free entry route. Without a free form of entry, your prize draw will be considered a lottery, and you’ll need to obtain a licence. 

Paying the standard rate for a phone call, text rate, or postage (first or second class) qualifies as free entry. However, requiring entrants to call a premium rate phone number or pay extra for a promotional product does not. So, you’ll need to offer an alternative route, such as a free entry through your website. 


Rules around choosing winners

When picking a winner or winners for your prize draw, you should follow the guidance in the CAP code. This states that winners should be selected according to the “laws of chance” using a “computer process that produces verifiably random results”, or they should be overseen by an “independent person”. If you use a computer process, evidence that verifies the process is random must be provided.


How to randomly select a winner for your prize draw

In a traditional prize draw, the winner is selected after the prize draw has ended, and they’re chosen randomly from the pool of all valid entrants. There are various online random name pickers or random number generators that you can use to pick a random winner. These will typically give you the option of selecting any number of winners either from a list or from Instagram comments (or any other social media site).

However, it’s a good idea to ensure that an independent person is present to monitor the selection of the contest winner or consult a specialist prize management agency for help. 

Instead of randomly selecting the winner after the prize draw has ended, there are a couple of other promotional mechanics you can use to determine winners in a prize draw.


Pre-selected winners

This is a popular mechanic for running an on-pack prize draw or promotion. Unique numbers or codes are issued (often on a pack), which consumers can use to enter the draw, usually through a website. One (or several) of these codes will have been preselected as the winning code, which is how the winner is chosen. 


Instant win

As the name suggests in this mechanic, entrants will receive a prize immediately after entering or instantly know that they have (or haven’t) won. A winning moment formula often facilitates this. This is where if someone enters at a specific time, they will receive a specific prize.


Bespoke prize draws and competitions

If you’re running a prize draw, it’s essential that you follow the rules for winner selection. The best way to do this is to enlist expert help – a professional prize management agency can ensure that your prize draw runs smoothly and legally.

At Another Way, we’re experts at the legal requirements for running prize draws and winner selection. You can rely on our team of prize experts to handle every aspect of your prize draw or competition!

Our founder, Andrew, has been in the Promotional Marketing industry for over a decade. He’s created unique and memorable draws and competitions for brands like Ocado and Ferrero, increasing brand awareness, boosting sales and fostering long-lasting brand loyalty.

We specialise in creating unique prizes that will really resonate with your target audience and get people talking about your brand. From running on-pack, instant-win promotions to nationwide prize draws with unforgettable prizes – we combine our legal knowledge with our creative spark to create and manage prize draws that run seamlessly!

Check out our campaign inspiration to see what we can achieve at any budget. 

We offer:

  • Unique prizes and experiences 
  • Prize promotional mechanics
  • Pan-European and global prize fulfilment 
  • Winner management, selection and entry judging 
  • UK and multi-territory terms and conditions
  • Loyalty reward schemes and consumer incentives 
  • Complete campaign management

If you would like our legal expertise and experience when running your next prize draw, call us at 0778 948 5123 or email us at prizeteam@another-way.co.uk.

Or complete our online form, and a member of our team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.