Culture, Media and Sport Committee - The Gambling Act 2005: A bet worth taking?Written evidence submitted by the Institute of Fundraising
1. About the Institute of Fundraising
The Institute of Fundraising (registered charity in England and Wales (no 1079573) and Scotland (no SC038971) represents fundraisers and fundraising throughout the United Kingdom. Its mission is to support fundraisers, through leadership, representation, standards setting and education, to deliver excellent fundraising. It is a membership organisation committed to the highest standards in fundraising management and practice. Members are supported through training, networking, the dissemination of best practice and representation on issues that affect the fundraising environment. The Institute of Fundraising is the largest individual representative body in the voluntary sector with over 5,000 Individual members and over 330 nearly 300 Organisational members. Membership reflects income to the sector of some £5 billion per annum and delivers more than £12 billion service-output covering all areas of social activity.
The importance of gambling for fundraising organisations.
Extending current exemptions for lotteries to allow fundraising.
Allowing for innovation in the use of gambling for fundraisers.
Making legislation and regulations easier to interpret for fundraisers.
Educating vulnerable groups to the use of gambling in a positive way.
3. Our Response
The Institute of Fundraising welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation and believes such opportunities to be integral to ensuring that legislation is of benefit to those it serves. The Institute of Fundraising recognises and fully supports the need to protect children and vulnerable people from the adverse effects of gambling and commends the Gambling Commission on their recognition of the fundraising sector as an alternative and community minded user of the gambling mechanism. Gambling and especially lotteries are an invaluable source of income for many fundraising organisations. In an environment of ever-increasing fundraising difficulties, it is imperative that this source of funding is protected and meets the needs of the organisations it serves.
The current exemptions for incidental non-commercial and private lotteries provide a fantastic entry point for organisations looking to run a raffle without the need for licences and other administratively burdensome rules. However, as it stands only incidental non commercial lotteries are applicable for fundraising purposes.
With this in mind the Institute of Fundraising and its members would like to see the extension of current exemptions for lotteries expanded to allow fundraising. As community groups and the charitable sector take centre stage through the implementation of the Big Society, set against the back drop of cuts to statutory funding and the ongoing effects of the recession, maximising the potential to fundraise through gambling will be vital to securing the future of many organisations.
Lotteries currently account for the vast majority of fundraising activity but as a progressive and fast evolving sector, it is paramount for organisations to have the ability to innovate. Within the Gambling Act 2005 and supporting guidance from the Gambling Commission there is recognition of many popular activities such as race nights, poker events and bingo to name a few. However, unlike lotteries, there are currently no explicit exemptions available for fundraising, which as previously explained would allow charities to provide innovation and offer donors more ways to support their causes, raising yet more money for the vital work undertaken by the charity sector.
The Gambling Commission has found its welcome place as a central authority and knowledge base providing help and support to make a complex area of law easier to work alongside. When working with gambling legislation it is the biggest fear of fundraisers that they have interpreted the legislation incorrectly. The IoF works hard to help fundraisers navigate the legislation safely, however we believe that there is a need for exemptions designed for fundraising to be clearly signposted. Making legislation and regulations easier to interpret would take the fear out of using gambling for fundraisers. This would assist in confident compliance across all levels of interaction with the legislation. These moves would aid the Commission’s commitment to ensure that gambling is maintained crime-free and conducted in an open and fair manner whilst assisting in the protection of children and vulnerable people from the adverse effects of gambling.
With the need to protect children, vulnerable people and society from the adverse effects of gambling in mind we believe the pressure to protect against the abuse of commercial gambling skews the industry’s potential for good. For example, allowing children and vulnerable people to be educated about the use of gambling in a positive way may help pave the way to reducing the negative impacts of gambling on society. This could be achieved by allowing those under 16 to run and enter raffles, organise bingo nights etc through school clubs, community groups and boy scouts/girl guides organisations, to name a few. Whilst the Institute understands this will be a balancing act for the Commission, we feel the potential positive impacts to society would outweigh potential risks.
Using gambling and specifically lotteries as fundraising tools to raise funds for socially aware projects will become more prevalent within the total gambling market place and we would like to see this reflected in the continuous development of suitable fundraising exemptions. In this way a shift in the balance of attitudes toward gambling can be achieved and will lead to a refocus on helping communities and individuals, rather than isolating and potentially harming them.
We would like to see the extension of current exemptions across lotteries to cover gaming and betting and the implementation of additional exemptions where opportunity for social good exists. The simplification of administrative processes where exemptions do not exist and the clear signposting where they do would develop greater confidence in fundraisers and more effective relationships with the Gambling Commission.