Promosfera responds: prize-draws and -competitions in Belgium 20 July 2021 Useful information for organising prize-draws and -competitions in Belgium This week we again respond to the questions we most often receive about prize-draws and -competitions and gift with purchase promotions around the world under the heading “Promosfera responds”. Today Martina Fumagalli, International Project Manager of Promosfera, gives us some useful information on the regulations on prize-draws and -competitions in Belgium. Are draws based on chance and competitions based on skill both allowed? Belgian legislation prohibits the organisation of any draw in which there is an element of luck. Such activities are considered “prohibited lotteries”. Contests based on merit are allowed, that is, all those initiatives in which a winner is selected on the basis of physical or intellectual abilities and which do not include elements of luck. Participants are usually asked to pass an exam, draw a logo or answer questions that must be sufficiently difficult and, therefore, require an intellectual effort from the participants. The question “What is 2+2?”, for example, cannot be considered an appropriate question in this context as it requires no particular effort or skill on the part of the participants. Violation of the provisions on the prohibition of organising luck-based draws can lead to the imposition of penalties of up to around € 40,000. Can the promoter of a competition be a foreign company? Belgian legislation does not place restrictions on the location of the promoter of a competition. An important element to consider is the law on consumer protection: if the law in force in the State where the promoter is based is less stringent than that applied in Belgium, Belgian law will prevail. Is the presence of an official required when awarding prizes? Notwithstanding that the awarding of prizes based on luck is prohibited, the presence of a notary or official for the protection of public confidence is not mandatory at the time of the selection of the winners in the case of competitions based on merit but a series of conditions must be observed which are supervised by the institutions responsible for protecting consumer rights. The Terms & Conditions, for example, must be drawn up respecting the appropriate measures, including the precise indication of the evaluation criteria to be applied, any restrictions, etc., and, in the case of a jury, it is necessary to provide the appropriate guarantees that the winners are chosen objectively on the basis of skills demonstrated. Therefore, every precaution must be taken to avoid, as far as possible, disputes with the participants that would cause annoying difficulties and potential penalties. To learn more and to organise a prize-competition in Belgium, contact us!