Is it skill or chance?

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Your promotion that is! We are often asked what is the difference between a game of skill and a game of chance and which one is better? There are pros and cons for each and the team at 33 Degrees has you covered either way.

Game of Skill

This type of promotion is a test of skill. The most common type of game of skill promotions are ’25 words or less’ e.g. “tell us in 25 words or less what your favourite travel destination is and why?”

A game of skill could also be a photography competition e.g. entrants are required to post a creative photo on Instagram and tag the brand to enter or they may need to use a specific hashtag with the most creative/interesting photo to be deemed the winner.   The more involved game of skill promotions ask for videos, creative stories, photos of a meal creation etc.  

A permit is not required for a game of skill however, you must have t&cs and you must ensure entries can be fairly judged on merit by defined criteria such as creativity, originality or humour and the question must not be something that entrants can potentially submit the same answer to e.g. Who won the Oscar for Best Actor in 2014? (it was Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club” in case you were wondering!!)

Game of Skill promotions can also be useful for brands trying to garner more insights about their audience e.g. Tell us in 25 words or less what would you like to see more of on the 33 Degrees website and why? Or images of real customers interacting with a brand’s products could be used to share on social.


No permits are required therefore there are less legal costs to run a game of skill (you do still need robust terms and conditions but no permits)

Quick to turn around – no requirement for permits = no waiting for permit boards to approve.

Potential to capture user-generated brand content e.g. Instagram photo competitions.


Potentially fewer entries than a game of chance – given the creative efforts required by entrants.

It can be time consuming judging entries.


Ensure that the prize you’re offering outweighs the lengths your entrants have to go to to enter. 


Game of Chance

This type of promotion is like a lottery – a winner or winners are selected randomly from the pool of entrants. Often the draw is electronic from a spreadsheet of entries. Most often the only requirement to entry will be providing your name, address, age, email and mobile phone number and postcode.  Sometimes a Promoter will also require the entrant to subscribe to their database and/or make a product purchase.

Skill plays no part in determining the winner. 


Depending on the prize, game of chance promotions generally attract a large number of entries.

Quick and easy entry = broad appeal.


Cost involved in permit application which varies based on the prize pool value.

Time for permit applications to be submitted and issued (up to 14 working days for national promotions).


Ensure your prize is appealing and make sure that you communicate the prize clearly in the creative.

If budget permits, introduce tiers including a major prize and multiple runner up prizes. Including runner up prizes can attract more entries because entrants are more likely to enter if their perceived chance of winning a prize is higher. But don’t get distracted by this. We’ve seen many clients spread themselves too thin trying to offer runner up prizes and diluting the impact of the major prize headline resulting in an overall promotion that was lackluster. If you don’t have the budget to offer exciting prizes, focus on getting the major headline prize right first.

How do you know which competition type is best for you?

Good question! Look at what you want to achieve from your competition. How will you measure its success? Is brand awareness or leveraging a partnership your goal? Do you want to grow your social media following, increase online traffic or are you after user-generated content? Are audience insights what you are looking for or is your goal to create a customer database or simply to increase sales?

Chat with the team and 33 Degrees and we can help you to determine the best approach for you.