We have all seen that a requirement of many contests before claiming your prize is the need to answer a “skill testing question”, but why is it so necessary?


Many Canadian Business owners run contests and draws as rather simple and effective ways to promote either their product, store or website.  Many may be unaware though of the legalities that come along with doing so and should make sure they research their chosen form of promotion.


Canadian laws differ from province to province regarding the rules contest holders have to adhere to (hence the ever-present ineligability of Quebec residents as the province’s government makes it especially difficult to run contests both on and off-line), but there are some constants.


The line is very thin for contest holders between running a simple giveaway and becoming an accidental casino.  The Canadian government highly regulates gambling and crossing their path should be avoided at all costs.


There are basically three elements of an illegal game in Canada.

  1.  there needs to be a prize awarded (includes cash)
  2.  the contestant has to pay to enter (including purchase necessary)
  3.  it has to be a game of chance (ie: picking a name out of a hat)


The key is to exempt your contest from at least one but preferably at least two of these three criteria.


One of the easiest ways to do that is to include a skill-testing question.  A question, however simple eliminates the contest from being a complete game of chance as there in now an element of skill involved before a prize is awarded.


I had always just assumed the random math problem was the contest holders last-ditch effort at getting out of having to pony up my prize (who knew you needed a mathematics degree to win a donut?), but it appears there is a need for the skill testing question after all.


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