Ice Fishing as a Lottery?

Courtesy of the Northern European law firm Roschier comes news of this most alarming decision from the Finnish Supreme Court: running an ice fishing competition without a lottery licence.

Supreme Court Rules on Lottery Offence in Ice Fishing Competition Case

The Supreme Court ruled on 30 December 2008 that an ice fishing competition can constitute a lottery in accordance with the Lotteries Act. […]

[T]he participants were entitled a prize of monetary value for each fish caught based on the weight of that single fish. The value of this prize rose substantially along with the weight classes, but at the same time the probability of catching the weightier fish decreased dramatically since there was only a small number of such fish in the lake. Further, there was only one fish that would have entitled to the first prize of one million euro. Therefore, the Supreme Court concluded that at least the catching of the heaviest fish was no longer based on the skill of the fisher but mainly on chance.

I’m not sure if we’re likely to see such problems here; sections 206(3) and 206(3.1) of the Criminal Code might provide a defence. Still, caveat piscator.

Link to summary of case here, with link to full text (in Finnish).

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