Probe on legality of SMS quizzes

THE legality of SMS-based competitions is under investigation.

THE legality of SMS-based competitions is under investigation.

National Lotteries Board spokesperson Sershan Naidoo said there had been complaints from consumers about the MTN competition. "We want to establish how the winner is determined. If it's through a draw or chance, then it is an illegal lottery."

The MTN competition, launched to celebrate its 15th anniversary, requires subscribers to send a text message - costing R7,50 - to enter. Subscribers must answer a series of general knowledge questions, costing another R7,50, for each question.

According to a Business Report article, entrant Mike Ferreira, said he spent R15000 last week in the competition.

After every correct answer, he received another SMS from MTN encouraging him to continue because he was "leading the game".

But MTN said its competition was perfectly legal. "This is a game of substantial skill and therefore does not require permission to be sought from the lottery board," MTN said.

"We have sought legal advice and we are comfortable that we are not in breach of the lottery regulations."

Last year, the board forced Vodacom to discontinue an SMS competition in which subscribers paid R10 a SMS to win a BMW.

Naidoo said's Game Time competition, which charges R7,50 an SMS, was also under investigation. - Sapa