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There should be a threshold below which people may hold charity lotteries without registration or a licence

Comment 27th August 2010

Under the Gambling Act 2005 a lottery is ilegal unless it fits in one of the following categories:

a large society lottery under a Gambling Commission Licence

a small society lottery under a local authority registration

a lottery at a non-commercial event

a workplace, residence or customer lottery where all the proceeds are spent on costs or prizes i.e. non can go to charity so this cannot be used for fundraising.

I think a threshold (perhaps £1000 in one lottery or £2,000 in a calendar year) should be introduced so that people can organise small fundraising lotteries other than at events.

The requirement that all proceeds from workplace, residence or customer lotteries go to a prize winner should be changed to allow proceeds to go to charities and other non-commercial societies.

Why does this matter?

Currently it is legal  to organise a lottery at work , in a business or in a residence where a lucky prize winner gets all the proceeds but it is not legal to run a lottery at work where half the proceeds go to the winner and half to charity.  There seems to be no clear reason for this.

You can raffle a box of chocolates to raise money for your favourite charity at your birthday party but not at work.  Again, this seems ilogical.  Lots of businesses run (or would like to run)  lotteries, e.g. sweepstakes on sporting events with some of the money going to charity or raffling Christmas gifts given by suppliers – such lotteries are currently ilegal.  If they were made legal it would make it easier for people to raise money and be part of 'big society'.

If people or supporter groups are offered a medium sized prize it is difficult for them to maximise the benefit of it as they would have to organise a non-commercial event (and limit ticket sales to people who attend the event which limits the amount they can raise) or they have to register with a local authority and fulfil fairly onerous requirements.  If they were allowed to sell a certain number of tickets without being required to register.

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