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€10 house giveaway cancelled after gambling commission investigates

09:16 15/05/2024

A competition to win ownership of a house in Godinne in Namur province that previously belonged to Belgium politician Paul-Henri Spaak has been cancelled following an investigation by Belgium’s Gambling Commission.

The house’s current owner, an estate agent from Namur, wanted to sell it and organised a competition in which participants had to bid €10, answer two questions, estimate the value of the property and then be entered into a draw to win the house.

This unusual scheme quickly attracted the attention of the federal gambling commission, which after analysis, ruled that the game was not a competition, but a "game of chance", which is prohibited without a licence, and is not provided for by law in the context of the sale of a property.

“All the criteria that define a game of chance have been met,” explained Magali Clavie, president of the Gambling Commission.

“There is a stake, a risk of loss or gain, and a result determined by chance. In fact, the answer you have to find depends on an estimate.

"A great deal is left to chance, particularly in view of the number of elements to be evaluated and the absence of criteria on the basis of which the estimate can be made."

The Gambling Commission therefore served formal notice on the owner, who in turn withdrew his advert. The owner does not wish to comment on the matter at present.

Anyone who entered the competition is not at risk of prosecution but must be reimbursed for their participation.

The commission will not be verifying that this refund is actually made, but said it had not received any complaints.

Written by Helen Lyons