2008 was most certainly the year of the win a house competition. We very nearly saw the first house won via these kind of competitions only for The Gambling Commission, unsurprisingly, get their sticky beaks involved in the process. This has seen the Devon Property with Fishing competition left somewhat in limbo whilst the legalities of the competition in terms of “skill” are assessed.
One win a house competition that has taken on board the “skill” definition is the Win a Cheltenham Home competition. This eco friendly home that featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs is still offering tickets for £25 each, but to enter you now need to spot the frisbee. In the event of more than one winner there’s a tiebreaker question to answer too.
These two elements are easily defined as skill. Firstly picking the exact pixel for the frisbee is a tough challenge (and not something many people will know) and the tiebreaker element means that there’s no fixed answer. The downside to these changes is that it means it’s much tougher for promoters to attract enough entrants so that the competition reaches it’s conclusion.
As we understand things people who have already entered the Cheltenham Home competition have been contacted about the changes to the competition and invited to re-enter (at no additional cost) via the new mechanic that’s in place.
Entrants to the Devon Property (Oldborough Estate) competition, however remain in limbo! According to the MySpace Pages of Brian and Wendy Wilshaw they are now dealing with a new barrister and hope to assess their options once people have returned to their desks after the winter break.
On paper it doesn’t look good for the Wilshaws or win a house competitions in 2009. If the definition of skill is accepted as “answer a question until you get it right before paying” then it’s possible these competitions could thrive – but if skill is maintained at the level of spot the ball and tiebreakers then we don’t think they will ever be able to attract the required number of entrants for a successful competition.