Raffle sites or pay to enter competition sites have mushroomed up all over the place. These sites offer exciting prizes such as cash, cars, gadgets and other desirable items on a regular basis. More recently sites like Elite Competitions and McKinney Competitions have even offered houses. The former even gave away £500,000! To enter these competitions you simply need to purchase a ticket from a limited number that are available to buy.
For many compers these kind of buy a ticket style sites aren’t that attractive. Ticket prices vary considerably from 99p right up to £99.97 – the price McKinney Competitions were charging for their property giveaway recently. However some compers are happy to pay out a couple of quid to enter competitions run by ITV. For example at time of writing you have the chance to win £50,000 and a Home Entertainment Package. Tickets cost £2 each if you enter online or via SMS/Phone but there is a no purchase necessary option. What’s worth noting here is that there’s no limit to the number of entries that ITV can accept for the competition.
What Is PrizeJar?
If pay to enter competitions are good enough for ITV then what about others? Many of you may well have heard of PrizeJar, the competition site that is promoted via Bauer Radio stations like Absolute Radio, Kiss and Magic. When we first glanced at the site we immediately assumed it was like Elite Competitons and McKinney. In fact it does look like you need to pay to enter the competition and that there’s a fixed number of tickets to be sold. This actually isn’t the case! PrizeJar is in fact more akin to ITV Competitions where you either choose to pay up to £3 to enter a prize draw or take the postal route option that’s available.
Win A Mini Cooper
To be fair the prizes on offer at PrizeJar aren’t on the same scale as ITV with their motorhomes and huge cash sums. At time of writing you could enter to win at PrizeJar an £8000 Summer Bundle for £3 or a 2017 Mini Cooper 1.5 Convertible also for £3. Unlike the ticket style sites the closing dates can’t be extended and all the prizes are guaranteed. Every time you enter at PrizeJar you can also earn bonus points and these points can then be used to enter other competitions. You can also earn points by referring friends etc.
WinPlus At Heart
Bauer Radio are not the only company utilising pay to enter online competitions. Heart, Smooth and other Global Radio brands for example regularly host competitions on their Win+ platform. From just £2 you can enter various prize draws to win consoles, cash and gadgets. To enter a prize draw you need to answer a question, select the number of tickets you’d like to buy and enter a mobile number. Entry is completed after making payments. As far as we can see there isn’t a no purchase necessary option with these competitions and there’s no limit with respect to total entry numbers.
ITV v PrizeJar v WinPlus
The basis of all three of these competition services is basically the same – to charge entrants to participate in their online competitions. However there are a few important differences to highlight when it comes to responsible play. ITV for example cap the number of entries you can have via SMS and online. At 30 and 15 respectively that’s still a lot of cash though. Multiple entries are permitted across the Win+ platform up to a maximum of £24 per day whilst PrizeJar has a total monthly cap of £240. Not one of the sites has any information about responsible gambling or tools that can be utilised by entrants.
So Is PrizeJar A Raffle Site?
SuperLucky suggests that PrizeJar is a site to avoid and there’s good reason for this with respect to the costs and potential for problem gambling. Di makes some valid points and rightly says that there are cheaper and free competitions to go for. But PrizeJar is only doing exactly the same as ITV and yet where are the calls to avoid ITV giveaways? You can after all choose to spend £60 on a single ITV competition. Enter four different competitions in a month and that’s £240. Win+ are in the same boat as these two but without a no purchase necessary route and a shockingly high £24 a day option.
Doing The Same As ITV
One of the explanations used by pay to enter ticket sites (also known as raffle sites) is that all they’re just doing the same thing as ITV (and now PrizeJar and Win+). They have a high ticket prize and are asking people to pay to enter for the chance to win it. And when you break it down into it’s simplest form then yes that is exactly what they’re doing. Whilst some do bend the rules with respect to moving the closing date goalposts others are now guaranteeing prizes regardless of the number of tickets they sell. In general this tends to only occur on the more successful sites because they’ve reached a critical level of paying entrants.
And The Point Is?
As more “raffle” style sites and house competitions emerge there comes more calls to regulate this particular aspect of competitions. And this should be something that needs to be assessed by The UKGC. As we have mentioned a few times already as an affiliate of bingo brands Loquax seems to have more regulatory measures to deal with than any site charging for competition entries. In our view sites like PrizeJar, ITV Competitions and Win+ on Heart essentially legitimise the 100s of other pay to enter sites. They all happily take cash from entrants and offer just token terms to look after players. How Win+ can say £24 a day is fine when The UKGC is considering £100 monthly limits for online gambling sites is a joke.
Lead From The Front
If you pay to enter the ITV competitions then you will probably be happy using the likes of PrizeJar and Win+. They have some nice prizes and there’s also a postal route on PrizeJar if you prefer that option. They are not quite the same as the likes of Elite, Raffolux and many others. Whilst PrizeJar may not be a raffle site – at least in terms of selling tickets – Bauer, ITV and Global should be taking a more active role in making this developing sector of comping better and safer. They could easily introduce responsible play sections, reduce the number of entries allowed and give entrants tools such as deposit limits, time-outs and exclusions. Even more so when you consider these sites can be advertised on TV and radio without the same restrictions that apply to gambling sites.
Will They Do It?
As pay to enter competitions aren’t under any kind of regulation then sites charging entrants for tickets or competitions entries do not have to do very much with respect to customer care. So it’s unlikely that Bauer, ITV and Global will introduce any kind of unilateral rules for their pay to enter competition servies. For Global that’s quite ironic given that Gamesys who power Heart Bingo and Smooth Bingo take responsible gambling very very seriously. So unfortunately we don’t expect anything to change until these companies are forced to by The UKGC. And The UKGC will probably only react when it’s far too late. In the mean time other companies will look at ITV, PrizeJar and Win+ and continue to add to the multiude of pay to enter ticket sites.