There are two types of free draws, either free draws where:
Free entry route
Under the Gambling Act, ‘free’ is defined as any method of communication that is charged at the normal rate, specifying charges for first and second class post. ‘Normal rate’ means that there can be no additional payment over what it would normally cost to use a particular method of communication. For example, while the Gambling Act classes first and second class post as free, special delivery is not classed as free.
Where all entries are free, the free draw does not generally need to be regulated by the Gambling Commission.
Free and paid entry routes
Generally, any competition where entrants are required to pay to take part, are considered lotteries which need to be regulated by the Gambling Commission.
Where there is a paid entry route, you must ensure that there is also a ‘free entry’ or a ‘no purchase necessary’ route. When running a free draw with a paid entry route, you must make sure that:
participants can genuinely choose to partake without paying
the free entry route is not more expensive than the paid route
the free entry route is not less convenient than the paid route
the free entry route is not charged at a premium
the method for allocating prizes does not differentiate between the free and paid route
the free entry route is displayed as prominently as the paid for route
both the free and paid for route are equally publicised, so that both are brought to the full attention of anyone interested in participating
A free entry route must be available, as any form of barrier or payment barrier to enter the free draw could be considered an illegal lotters if it is not regulated by the Gambling Commission.