Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Memoranda


Memorandum submitted by the Lotteries Council

  The Lotteries Council's Executive Committee did not meet until 25 April, which was after the deadline for notice of the wish to submit oral evidence. Therefore, our Gambling Review working group members were consulted beforehand and it was resolved to confine our response to these written comments on this occasion.

  Whilst the Lotteries Council regrets that the recommendations of the Gambling Review Body were not met in full, we nevertheless acknowledge that the Government's decisions go much of the way to meeting the majority of the concerns we have articulated. The Council anticipates that the resultant legislation will meet the immediate practical needs of the bulk of the membership provided that the new limits are implemented by means of statutory instrument before the end of this calendar year, and provided that they are reviewed regularly thereafter.

  The Council believes that the proposals which advocated the removal of monetary limits for societies' lotteries—proposals which originated from the Gaming Board—should have been implemented in full and that any danger which this might pose to the National Lottery has been greatly overstated. The Government has stated its desire to help charities in their fundraising efforts. It is essential therefore that healthy society lotteries continue to exist in order that people may exercise their individual freedoms of choice as to the specific cause they wish to support; something which is not possible when entering the National Lottery.

  The Council is also aware that participation by the public in charitable giving is in decline. This will almost inevitably lead to the Government having to take on a heavier burden if societies' lotteries are not enabled to make up the shortfall; a function well worth the tax concession on their stake money.

  There also remains concern on the part of individual members of the Council over the lack of compromise on the one-per-24 hour rule for on-line draws. The proposal by the Government is vague. In order not to prejudice smaller societies there should be flexibility so as to allow at least one such draw for a particular game per society per day, or one draw per society per day, and above all that any particular shop can sell a draw per day for more than just one society.

  We also advocate that a distinction be made between the current definition of on-line draws and lotteries which may be entered by premium rate or reverse charge telephone call, the internet, or other electronic means. Such ticket-less lotteries could be operated by small societies as something distinct from on-line draws, and would enable a higher percentage of the stake money to go to good causes.

  Particularly welcome is the decision not to require all society lotteries to share the burden of financing the Gambling Commission. This will be a great relief to small organisations operating through local authority registrations. The Council hopes that this is evidence of a general recognition by the Government of the principle that societies' charity fundraising is not on an equal footing with commercial forms of gambling in respect of the funding of the Gambling Commission.

  The Council also warmly welcomes the invitation from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to be involved in the ongoing consultation with other interested bodies in the consideration of the deferred items and the process leading to the drafting of a gambling Bill: important matters of detail remain to be addressed.

  Finally we would ask if members of the Committee are aware that if a visitor from "a place outside the British Islands and the member states" were to purchase a ticket in a raffle organised by one of their constituency parties and subsequently win a prize after returning home, the promoter or any other party member would be "guilty of an offence" if they were to send the prize to the winner?

  These absurdities of Section 2(1)(d), (e) and (f) of the 1976 Lotteries and Amusements Act have been ignored by the Government's proposals (paragraph 122). How is it that tickets or advertisements can be circulated throughout "the British Islands and the member states" but the lottery not be promoted nor conducted there? Do the members of the Committee share the Council's view that it was partly to address such peculiarities that the Review Body was set up?

27 April 2002

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