prepare your scratch card campaign

Prepare your Scratchcard campaign

Scratchcard giveaways are a great way of promoting your product to consumers; or rewarding customers and encouraging repeat business for your services.

But as with any contest or giveaway, the UK does have certain regulations you’ll need to follow to keep everything fair, honest and fun.

How to keep your scratchcard giveaway above board
We’re certainly not lawyers here at, and we can’t offer legal advice for your scratchcard campaign – but we can give you a few tips on running a legitimate giveaway in the UK from some of the country’s leading authorities on gambling and advertising standards. (Nevertheless, we’d suggest consulting your legal department or advisor before launching a widespread scratchcard campaign.)

Keep it free
According to the Gambling Commission (the UK government’s public body for gambling regulation), you don’t need a licence to start running your own promotional scratchcard giveaway.

However, you will need to take steps to ensure your giveaway isn’t classified as an ‘illegal lottery’. One approach is to allow the general public to enter for free; if it’s clear you’re not directly making money from entries, you’re potentially less likely to attract scrutiny.

There are legal ways of carrying out a pay-to-enter contest – including offering an alternative method of entry that consumers don’t have to pay for – but for peace of mind, a free-to-enter prize draw is the best way to go.

What if you want to include a scratchcard within your product packaging, so customers have to buy before they can enter? This is fine, as long as you don’t bump up the price of the product during the entry period; otherwise the extra cost could be interpreted as a contest entry fee.

Be honest about the odds of winning
The CAP code set out by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) states that your scratchcards should never exaggerate the consumer’s chances of winning.

Never use words like ‘winner’ and ‘congratulations’ to imply entrants have won when they haven’t – and of course, if you’re offering a prize draw that anyone can win, you need to print and distribute the winning cards to ensure the draw is actually winnable.

You should also be careful about describing cards as ‘winning’ or ‘lucky’ cards when chance doesn’t factor into the equation. For example, it’s fine to print 50 ‘winning’ cards and 50 ‘losing’ cards and distribute them at random; this ensures that each entrant has a 1 in 2 chance of winning.

However, if you’re distributing your cards in sets of two so that each recipient gets one ‘winning’ card and one ‘losing’ card, the former card shouldn’t be described as a ‘winning’ or ‘lucky’ card – because everyone who enters will win!

That’s not to mention the distinction between ‘prizes’ and ‘gifts’ – which brings us neatly onto….

Be honest about your prize offering
Your scratchcards should clearly state what prizes the entrants can win, and the quantities of prizes you have to give away (or a reasonable estimate if the exact number can’t be predetermined for any reason).

Of course, not every winning card will necessarily be claimed – which means you’ll need to clearly distinguish the number of prizes that can be won from the number that will actually be given away by the end of the draw.

Back to ‘prizes’ and ‘gifts’ – what’s the difference? Prizes are granted to a select few ‘winners’, while gifts are given out to everyone who enters (or at least a ‘significant proportion’ of entrants).

Your scratchcards should never imply that consumers have won a prize when they’ve actually just qualified for a gift; and gift recipients should never be listed as prize winners.

Include your ‘significant conditions’
As well as having a set of Terms and Conditions for your giveaway (which can be hosted on your website), the scratchcard itself must display:

  • Start date
  • Closing date
  • How to enter
  • Prize details (including how many you’re giving away)
  • A clear explanation of any alternative free entry methods
  • Any proof-of-purchase requirements for claiming prizes

You don’t strictly have to include all of these terms, but it’s wise to cover them nonetheless; you’ll be breaching the CAP code if ‘omission of such conditions or information is likely to mislead’.

And if you’re planning an on-pack scratchcard promotion, be sure to make the terms clearly visible on the outer side of the packaging; this way, consumers can make up their minds about your giveaway before they purchase. can produce professional, variable-printed scratchcards to support any promotional campaign. Scratch-off panels can even be added to bottleneck tags, keycard holders, z-fold cards and more – ideal for on-pack competitions, or simply adding a little extra interactivity and engagement to your promotional materials. Call us on 02380 878030 to find out more.

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