The Northern Ireland Executive is to change gambling laws, which have prohibited brands from running prize draw promotions linked to product purchase, for eight years.
Promotions affected include those popular with FMCG and soft drinks manufacturers to offer instant win codes on packaging.
Brands have ben forced to overtly exclude Northern Irish consumers from promotional activity or offer a “no purchase necessary” option to allow consumers in the region to participate.
They have been allowed in England, Scotland and Wales since the 2005 Gambling Act came into force but were considered as gambling in Northern Ireland.
The Minister for Social Development in Northern Ireland, Nelson McCausland, has said gambling laws will be “updated and improved”.
The Institute of Promotional Marketing (IPM) has been vocal in its opposition to the restriction and lobbied Government to make the change claiming that the ban was illegal under the European Union’s Unfair Commercial Practices Directive.
Jeremy Stern, managing director of PromoVeritas, says: “The previous laws were outdated and cumbersome and resulted in a form of ‘promotional apartheid’. Once the new law is implemented, these complexities will be gone and the people of Northern Ireland will be able to fully participate in all and every type of promotion that we, on the mainland, have had for years.”