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Win a Car for £20, Maybe....

How Not to Get Caught in an Illegal Lottery

We've all seen the posts on Facebook or other social media platforms and either know someone or have ourselves participated in a car raffle. Let's face it, who wouldn't want to win a £20k+ car for £20? I've done it, twice in fact but been unlucky so far but would I do it again? Maybe, but armed with as much information as I could gather to ensure that what I am entering is not an illegal lottery and the vehicle was as it seems. 

The Gambling Commission states that Lotteries, or raffles cannot be run for any commercial gain or profit. They can only be run for good causes — such as charities, hospices, air-ambulance services or other not-for-profit causes.

So what actually needs to be created is a prize competition.

Unlike a lottery where the outcome depends on chance, the outcome of a genuine prize competition must depend on the exercise of skill, knowledge, or judgment by the participant.

The element of skill, knowledge or judgment in a competition must prevent:

  • A significant proportion of people from taking part or
  • A significant proportion of people who do take part from receiving a prize.
  • If the competition relies on chance it may be considered a lottery and could be illegal.

Always check the terms and conditions if any are laid out.  Chances are the individual, in an attempt to protect him/herself from any losses or claims will have set out a number of terms. Their legality will sometimes be dubious but, nevertheless those are the rules by which it will be played.

There maybe cash alternatives offered if all the tickets do not sell, this can be a good option for the organiser to get some cash for free as he/she takes a cut for so-called arrangement fees from a total prize fund, but it does mean that your entry won't be stuck forever awaiting for the other tickets to sell.

Dependant on how much you want to invest you could also HPI the vehicle, although I would expect the organiser to provide evidence to support this as part of the process. 

Always make sure the draw is independent. I'll leave what's considered independent to you as there are never any guarantees.  

Once you have satisfied yourself that you are not entering an illegal lottery and fancy your chances at the big prize, there are a few more things you can do to try to ensure you find out the most about the vehicle you are hoping to win.

Check It's MOT History

Use the registration number to ascertain the MOT history of the vehicle.  This is an easy one. You can head to the Gov.uk website and see what current MOT remains on the vehicle and what advisories the vehicle had at the last test. By reviewing the history of the test you can check for mileage abnormalities and any serious repairs the vehicle has had in its history as well as any suspicious gaps.

Social Media

Social media can be your best friend or your worst enemy.  Have a good dig around the person raffling the vehicle.  Is he/she the owner? Are they entitled to raffle it? Why are they raffling it? Maybe it's a genuine route to market considered by the individual to try to maximise the amount they get for the vehicle. Maybe though it's because it wont sell in any other market due to defects or condition and they are relying on the fact that you have won it for such a small outlay that you wont be too fussed about any defects when you come to collect it.

Website Check

If social media hasn't giving you the satisfaction you need, or you have come up empty there maybe another way you can get more information.  If the competition has been set up on a website there is a chance of finding out who owns that website through WHOis. This will give you the name and address details of whoever registered the website unless they have opted for a confidential entry.  If you are successful here then you can head back over to social media and carry on your search.

Armed with your information you can make an informed decision on entry and maybe, just maybe be the winner. Just remember it's at your risk!  Good luck

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