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“Watch and Win” an illegal lottery

17 August 2006

“Watch and Win” an illegal lottery

The Department of Internal Affairs has welcomed a court judgement that a text messaging competition, which promised 27 Peugeot Cabriolet cars as prizes, was illegal.

Auckland District Court Judge Nicola Mathers, in a reserved decision, said she was satisfied that DIA had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Richard Stuart Hayes and Troy Jonathon Elliott, directors of Watch and Win Ltd, organised an illegal lottery. She said she was convinced the scheme was not a sales promotion as defined by law. Sentencing will take place on October 6.

The TXTDrive competition ran during March 2004. Entrants could text a word spotted on TV2 to enter a daily draw for a Peugeot car and receive free products from Pizza Hut restaurant.

Judge Mathers said Watch and Win Ltd hoped to generate a profit of over $1.5 million but the competition failed for lack of entrants and there was insufficient money to honour prizes.

She considered Mr Hayes and Mr Elliott deliberately entered into the scheme and were careless about its legality.

The Department’s Director of Gambling Compliance, Mike Hill, said people considering such ventures are strongly advised to seek legal advice first.

“As Judge Mathers commented, ignorance of the law is not a defence,” he added.

ENDS

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