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Prize game or contest: What's the difference?

Element of luck

The main difference between a raffle and a contest is the element of luck. In the prize games, the winners are drawn by random selection, while in the prize competition they are chosen according to a certain criterion or the achieved result. Therefore, in the context of the competition, it is more accurate to talk about the winners.

Legal regulation

Different legal regulations are another important difference. Prize games are regulated by special laws and regulations.

Contests have a much broader definition

Social games of knowledge - quizzes from Article 69, paragraph 3 of the Act, as well as various types of competitions in which prizes are awarded depending on the result or based on the decision or assessment of the expert committee, are not considered prize games. (Rulebook on organizing prize games, Article 3 Paragraph (3))

The prize contest includes different subtypes

The prize contest includes different subtypes: knowledge games - quizzes, sports competitions, creative contests, beauty contests, etc. Given that prize contests are not under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance, the responsibility for transparent implementation lies solely with the organizer.


The way to participate in the prize contest can be: writing comments on posts, tagging friends, writing a story or recipe, taking a photo or video. One of the pitfalls of organizing a prize contest is that the expectations of the participants grow with the effort invested. For example, if it's a contest where you have to submit a photo of a dish, the contestant will put in a lot of effort and will be disappointed if they don't win the prize.

Given that the rules of prize competitions are not under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance, they are often written in a free form, so there is a greater possibility of mistakes. Some of them are listed below.

There is no transparency – a common case with contests on social networks. The selection or evaluation process is not transparent or is done independently by one person, which opens up room for irregularities.

The selection criteria are vague or abstract – For example, it is not enough to write "we will choose the best three". What is the exact criterion by which the "best" are chosen?

Unfair Competition - Any mechanism in which individuals or groups of individuals can have a large advantage over others. A good example are contests for the best recipe or photo of a dish, in which food bloggers win. Although probably such a dish was really among the best, the question arises whether the competition is fair.

Cheating - Almost every online contest that is conducted with a game, such as a memory, a speed quiz or a simple game, brings with it individuals who try to cheat in various ways - from ingenuity to cheating using special programs. Then unrealistic and impossible results appear, resulting in negative publicity and complaints. Sometimes this can no longer be unraveled, because it is impossible for the organizer to discern which participants are cheating. Because of the above, we do not recommend this type of competition.

Fake Profiles – there are people with hundreds of fake profiles that increase their chances of winning a prize. An uninformed organizer will be satisfied with a good turnout, when in reality most applications will be from fake profiles to gain an unfair advantage.

For any kind of cheating and manipulation attempts with fake profiles, the rule applies - the higher the reward value, the more likely individuals will try to cheat. This stems from the nature of the mechanism where without purchasing a product and with little effort, one can win valuable prizes.

Frivolity and carelessness in implementation - It happens with tenders on social networks, especially with smaller companies. For example: not following the rules, forgetting to choose a winner, not following deadlines and the like.

Concealed raffle – The organizer calls something a contest, advertises it as a contest, receives applications for the contest, and at the end draws the winners by random selection. As soon as there is a random selection, it is a prize game and must be reported to the Ministry of Finance.

The same is true for promotions of the "every application wins" type, in which everyone is given some small promotional product, and several valuable prizes are distributed by random selection (or worse, it is not described according to which criteria they are distributed). This is also a hidden raffle without reporting to the competent Ministry.

Even when the organizer pays attention to the details in the implementation of the competition, the mechanism should be taken into account.

One of the mistakes when choosing a mechanism is combining the elements of a prize game and a contest. For example, in the absence of time to organize a raffle, and with the goal of increasing sales, the company instead of a raffle makes a contest that combines two conditions - the purchase of a product and an additional creative task. A relatively small number of customers are ready for this kind of engagement. If customers are expected to buy a product to participate, it's better to make a raffle and give everyone a chance to win.

When to choose a prize game, and when to choose a competition?
In most cases, a prize game is a better mechanism for a simple reason – it is a transparent type of promotion that provides an equal opportunity to win prizes to all participants who meet the conditions set out in the rules.

Raffles are used to increase sales, brand awareness and attract new customers or users.

One of the goals may be to reward existing, loyal customers. We often receive an email from the winners thanking them for the award they received, in which they write how happy they are to have been awarded because they "love our biscuits" or "have only bought our coffee all their lives".

Contests are good for increasing interaction on social networks, and for this purpose they are used by larger companies aware of all the challenges in implementation.