What licence do I need to run a spot the ball competition?
Spot the ball may involve betting, a prize competition, or a
lottery, depending on how your scheme is structured.
If you structure your spot-the-ball scheme so that participants
are expected to guess, or judge, whether anything is true or not,
it is likely to be betting. For example, if the aim of
participants in the spot the ball scheme is to choose which of a
number of pre-selected positions corresponds to the actual position
of the ball in the original photograph, it is likely to be betting
or a betting prize competition. In order to operate
these types of scheme you will need an appropriate betting
operating licence from the Gambling Commission.
If your spot the ball scheme is not betting, it could be a
lottery, or a prize competition, depending on how you arrange
it. To be a genuine prize competition there must be an
element of skill, knowledge or judgement that is reasonably likely
to prevent a significant proportion of people who wish to
participate from doing so, and prevent a significant proportion of
people who participate from receiving a prize.
For example, if a panel of judges determine the position of the
ball in a spot-the-ball scheme, and participants have to apply
judgement or skill to match their own decision of where the ball is
with that of the panel, it is more likely to be a prize competition
than a lottery. Genuine prize competitions are free from
statutory control under the Gambling Act 2005 and therefore do not
require a licence.
If your spot-the-ball scheme is not a prize competition or
betting, it is likely to be a lottery. Lotteries are the
preserve of good causes and cannot be run for commercial or private
gain. If you are running a spot-the-ball scheme as a lottery
you will need either a lottery operating licence from us or you
will need to register with your local licensing authority. You will
need to meet the various other requirements which apply to
Page last reviewed: September