Times Online reports that phone-in prize shows may be closed or run as lotteries.
Apparently any game that charges a fee to play and does not involve skill is a lottery. And to run a lottery, you have to get a licence and give 20 per cent of the revenue to charity.
The current games are allowed to call themselves prize competitions if there is an alternative method of playing free of charge, without exorbitant phone charges. There is an alternative method – playing over the Internet – but this possibly is not advertised enough.
bq. The Gambling Commission could try to shut down the channels for potentially breaking the 1976 Lotteries and Amusements Act. However, its latest consultation document, Prize Competitions and Free Draws, indicates that laws due in September next year are much tougher.
bq. It says: Many of the commercial schemes which currently operate as competitions are, in the commissions view, [complex lotteries]. Good examples are the TV quiz shows on dedicated channels . . . All such channels will either have to stop operating altogether or operate under the provisions relating to lotteries or ensure that they operate such that they fall within the provisions relating to either prize competitions or free draws set out below.
I imagine the situation is similar in Germany.
phone-in prize show: die Call-in-Show
prize competition: Preisausschreiben