Sep 20, 2009

Rossendale puzzle fan's fight to use home as a prize

A ROSSENDALE businessman and puzzle fanatic has spoken of his nightmare eight-month battle against red tape after finally securing the right to use his £675,000 luxury home as a Sudoku prize.
Dave Mackie, director of CBG Insurance Brokers, Bacup Road, Waterfoot, launched his online competition in January and his website received 50,000 hits from across the world in just two days as his story went around the globe.
However, Mr Mackie said that after 900 people got the Sudoku puzzle correct and paid the £50 entry fee, payment providers PayPal stopped supporting the competition.
The 49-year-old said he then set about an eight month fight to prove his competition complied with UK law as it is a prize competition relying on people’s skill to crack the Sudoku – and not gambling.
He has now re-launched the competition and said he was contacting the 700 prospective entrants who have been in touch with him since the competition was put on hold, as well as the 900 who have already entered, to re-assure them he has now got the green light.
Once they have paid a £50 entry fee, entrants are asked to complete an online Sudoku puzzle.
Mr Mackie said they would then receive a place in the prize competition to win the stylish detached home, complete with sauna and steamroom, in Hambleton on the Fylde coast.
“I thought Sudoku was a tough challenge but sorting all this out has been an even tougher challenge,” said Mr Mackie.
“When I launched the competition, I was inundated with entries and hits on the website but after two days everything just stopped.
“PayPal said they thought it was gambling, even though I told them it was a prize competition, relying on people’s skill to solve the Sudoku puzzle and had a solicitor’s letter confirming it complied with UK law.
“I now have a new payment provider, London-based Perpetual Payments, part of the Voice Commerce Group, and one of their directors is on the Gambling Commission, just to emphasise that everything is completely legal.
“I have been frustrated to the point of distraction but I said this competition would work, I went on TV to say I would use my house as a competition prize and there is no way I was going to let people down.
Mr Mackie said the maximum odds of winning his home are 14,000/1 and the competition would run until February 1 next year or until he had 14,000 entrants.

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