A little knowledge is a bad thing and this letter is the proof of it. Bartman should read the full judgment in this case. He could then see that Judge Jack QC cited with approval a number of previous cases, including Reader’s Digest v Williams (1976) and Express Newspapers v Liverpool Daily Post (1983), in which substantial numbers of people purchased products and also obtained a chance, but because there was a real choice for consumers there was no lottery. The initial report of the case in The Times certainly gave the impression that instant win mechanics might now be legally unsound. However, the full judgment makes a clear distinction based on the existence or otherwise of a genuine opportunity for consumers to choose between purchase or a free entry mechanism. That is why lawyers must now emphasise the crucial importance of such mechanisms in ensuring the continuation of an important promotional technique.
Head of legal services
Institute of Sales Promotion