Contests and Sweepstakes

Chance-based sweepstakes (i.e. random-draw promotions, instant-win games) and skill-based contests are generally permissible in Turkey. Chance-based sweepstakes where cash is given as a prize, may only be conducted by the National Lottery Administration (“NLA”), which is the sole authority to organize lotteries and draws with a cash reward. Chance-based sweepstakes and skill-based contests, where the prize is non-cash, can be conducted by real or legal persons under specific legal requirements.

If the winners of the promised prizes are determined by a draw depending on a chance factor, the promotion will be deemed as a draw. If the monetary value of the non-cash prize exceeds TL 141,2 (approximately EUR 20) for 2020 in a prize draw, then such promotion will be subject to the official permission of the NLA. For skill -based contests, there is no need for to obtain permission from the NLA.

In running contests and promotions, all of the advertising materials, websites, and rules must be provided in Turkish. Any prize awarded may not be different than that promoted, and must satisfy the average consumer’s expectation. If any gift is awarded, together with the promoted goods and services market price, then the terms of the promotion should be disclosed. The manner in which the winners are announced, and how the award will be delivered, must be published. Since the participants will be deemed “consumers” within the meaning of the Turkish Consumer Protection Law, the strict and protective approach thereof applies. 

If the prize draw is subject to the official permission of the NLA, the advertising of such prize draw must incorporate information as to the NLA authorization, including the authorization number, and the date when the authorization was granted. Since it is forbidden for minors to participate in prize draws, the advertisement of prize draws should explicitly note that minors cannot participate, and that prizes are not awarded in the event of accidental or unauthorized participation, based on age.

Other than the above rules that apply to sweepstakes, there are no specific rules governing sweepstakes and contests conducted through the social media. Since scrutiny over social media contests and sweepstakes are not as strict, it is possible to observe many prize draws, which should actually be subject to NLA’s permission, being drawn via social media platforms without such authorization, and without complying with the advertisement restrictions. The NLA has recently started monitoring non-compliance over social media platforms, and has issued warnings to those who conduct unauthorized prize draws via their social media pages and webpages.

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