Marketing and contests in pubs

For some, it proved so successful that they continued these activities even after the UK returned to normal.

But pubs that have recently converted to social media and email marketing should be careful if they plan to hold draw events for this weekend’s Grand National.

Sweepstakes are a type of lottery, which means customers pay to participate and have the chance to win a prize based on chance. Typically, pubs run competitions such as shopper lotteries, which are exempt from the usual rules set out by the Gambling Commission for lottery operations.

However, there are still strict rules on how customer lotteries work and one of them concerns advertising. Pubs planning to hold a draw for the Grand National – or any other event for that matter – are only allowed to advertise it on their business premises.

They are not allowed to advertise it online or text or email customers about it, so including it on the Facebook page or mailing customers would break the rules. Advertising is also limited to a single locale, so cross-marketing through a chain of pubs is also prohibited.

Advertising aside, there are a number of other rules licensed outlets must follow when planning customer sweepstakes, including that all tickets must be randomly assigned and that all proceeds from the sale of tickets must be distributed as prizes, less deductions for reasonable expenses.

Tickets must be the same price and can only be sold to customers when they are in the pub. Tickets must be sold by management (not an external promoter) and must state details of the organiser/premises and price on the ticket, along with a statement that tickets are non-transferable.

The maximum value of a prize cannot exceed £50, although there may be more than one prize if a higher amount is collected via ticket sales. Services can also be provided and as an example a £50 meal voucher could be won. However, if the meal only costs the company £30, the extra £20 must be used for other prices.

Finally, with the Easter Bank Holiday weekend falling less than a week away from the Grand National this year, another important rule to bear in mind is that pubs can only run one customer lottery per period. of seven days, which begins on the date of the previous draw.

Therefore, any pub planning customer lotteries for the Grand National and Easter should ensure that an Easter draw does not take place on Good Friday.

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