Sweepstakes in Canada are all the rage these days and have a very storied history. They draw in countless people each and every day with the promise of quick money that can truly change a person’s life. However, as difficult as winning these kinds of contests can be, collecting the earnings can be just as difficult. That’s because in Canada people are required to complete a mathematical skills test (otherwise known as a skill testing question) before they can get their hands on their winnings.
Many Canadian citizens often wonder what this prerequisite is all about, especially since their brothers and sisters to the South in the United States don’t have to complete the same kind of test. For people in Canada, this stipulation seems like kind of a ripoff and some have fought for their right to the prize regardless of their answer, but there actually is a method to the madness.
Knowing Lottery Law
According to law books, sweepstakes in Canada are comprised of three things:
- a prize that has cash value
- a drawing in which a random person is selected
- and a sponsor who benefits financially from the contest itself
Because the law bans all games of chance, with the exception of lotteries and those held at licensed casinos, there needed to be another element to stop a sweepstakes from being a game of chance. This is where the skills test comes in. Since Canadians aren’t allowed to win strictly based on luck, a metric had to be put in place to determine a winner. Contest sponsors decided that a demonstration of skill would be required to limit the amount of potential winners and substantially decrease the element of chance. The test they came up with wasn’t difficult, but it at least leveled the playing field for those who entered in a sweepstakes in Canada.
They didn’t want just anyone to be able to win the contests they were sponsoring. Only those who were able to complete the test were eligible to take home the winnings. Although controversial, this decision, in compliance with the Canadian Competition Act, was ultimately made to introduce an added level of fairness to the contests that people were participating in.
Cashing in One Way or Another
Unlike Canadians, Americans have a different set of rules in place for sweepstakes and lotteries. The same principles still apply, but rather than requiring a skills test, it was decided that the entrance fee would be the part of the equation that was subtracted. This is why the phrases, “No Purchase Necessary to Enter. A Purchase Will Not Increase Your Chance of Winning.,” can be found in the fine print of any American sweepstakes or lottery that you enter.
It appears that both American citizens and lawmakers would much rather leave it up to chance, than require a skills test be completed upon winning. The way these laws work definitely speak volumes to how each country views sweepstakes and lotteries.
In the quest for fast money, having to complete a test can be a deterrent for some. For others, a little bit of math is more than worth the potential earnings that are at stake.
Mark Heald is an Associate Product Manager and Sporcle Admin. He enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and bemoaning the fact the Sonics left Seattle.