In the terms and conditions of a keysight promotion to win an oscilloscope, I stumbled over the following sentence:

In accordance with local laws, if the selected entrant is a Canadian or South African resident, that entrant will be required to answer a mathematical skill-testing question, without assistance of any kind (whether mechanical or otherwise), within the time frame provided above.

What is/are the law(s) behind this, and what is that law trying to achieve?

  • 1
    Interesting; only thing I can think of is that the math test is a form of captcha administered in a web browser by the company to screen out automated entries that happen to win. Mar 1, 2016 at 18:34
  • Also applies in Australia.
    – user207421
    Mar 2, 2016 at 9:21
  • @EJP: Yeah, probably in a lot of other countries too, the promotion was limited in countries, excluding australia
    – PlasmaHH
    Mar 2, 2016 at 9:30

1 Answer 1


From a blog entry by Canadian lawyers familiar with sweepstakes and contest laws:

In Canada, games of pure chance are prohibited as illegal lotteries under our Criminal Code...

For contests of chance, making prize redemption conditional on answering a skill-testing question turns a game of pure chance into a (legal) game of mixed chance and skill. Generally, a time-limited, multi-step and multi-operational mathematical skill testing question, answered without assistance, is sufficient.

That is under §206 of the Criminal Code of Canada - Offences in relation to lotteries and games of chance.

You will probably find similar statutes related to South Africa.

It's not uncommon to see "games of chance" turned into "games of skill" in order to avoid the creation of illegal lotteries.

  • 1
    Given that in other areas (like taxes) often there are often quite some measures in place that prevent easy circumvention of laws by demanding hard proof I wonder if this practice is deliberately tolerated to allow for such promotional contests.
    – PlasmaHH
    Mar 1, 2016 at 21:27
  • 6
    The Wikipedia article on this subject provides an example: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skill_testing_question (Their example is (2 x 4) + (10 x 3). The answer is 38.) The article claims that a court decision ruled that a skill testing question had to have at least 3 operations.
    – Dave D
    Mar 1, 2016 at 21:50
  • 10
    Welcome to our illegal casin... errr I mean dice throwing skill improvement center. Mar 1, 2016 at 21:53
  • 1
    Specifically, they're referring to section 206 of the Criminal Code.
    – Compro01
    Mar 2, 2016 at 0:50
  • 2
    Google operator precedence - there is only one correct answer (5).
    – Sobrique
    Mar 4, 2016 at 21:52

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