VI THE NATIONAL LOTTERY
Effect on the National Lottery of the Government's proposals
- Camelot invested £357,257 in commissioning research into the likely effect of the Gambling Review proposals on National Lottery sales, which concluded that had the proposals been fully implemented there would have been a reduction in returns to the Exchequer and Good Causes of up to £400 million per annum. The most harmful proposals were allowing side betting, and the deregulation of bingo and societies' lotteries.
- The Government decided that there was a risk of a large popular charity working with a national retailer to create a lottery and decided not to remove the limits on societies' lotteries as recommended by the Gambling Review. The Government concluded that the competition to the National Lottery would reduce Lottery sales with the result of smaller and smaller less attractive prizes. The Government is instead doubling the current limits on ticket sales and prizes, enabling charities to raise more income. We were told that in response to the Government's consultation on the Gambling Review Report, societies' lotteries had sought a doubling of limits, which is what the Government gave them. We consider that the Government was right to increase prize levels for societies' lotteries, particularly as evidence to the Committee suggested, that there are charities supported by these smaller lotteries which have never received a penny from the National Lottery Fund.
- The Government accepted the Gambling Review's recommendations concerning Bingo, abolishing prize levels and allowing rollovers, stating that it agreed that Bingo was unlikely to be a substitute for playing the lottery, and that it did not consider that the risks to National Lottery sales justified rejecting the Review's proposals. We consider that the deregulation of Bingo is unlikely to inflict a significant negative impact upon the National Lottery. However, we are minded to return to the subject of Bingo in a future inquiry to consider concerns raised by the Bingo Association on the permitting of Bingo in casinos.
The National Lottery Commission and the Gambling Commission
- The major proposal of A safe bet for success is the creation of a single statutory regulator for the whole gambling industry. This does not include the National Lottery, which for the time being remains the responsibility in both licensing and regulating the National Lottery Commission.
- Both Camelot and the National Lottery Commission gave evidence to the Committee that the Lottery should remain outwith the remit of the new Gambling Commission. Their reasoning being was that a single operator would experience a conflict of interest between the need to maximise returns to Good Causes and the commercial requirements of the rest of the industry. The National Lottery Commission also stated: 'it is difficult to see how our regulatory responsibilities could be separated from our sponsoring and commercial roles'. However, the National Lottery Commission stated that it looked forward to working closely with the new Gambling Commission to 'develop contacts and understanding at different operational levels, so as to secure a consistent and co-ordinated approach to regulation across the whole of the gambling sector'.
- The Gambling Review Body was asked not to consider changes to the National Lottery and so did not specifically recommend that the regulatory role of the National Lottery Commission should be undertaken by the Gambling Commission.
- A further consideration for the Government should be whether the Lottery operator should contribute directly to the industry charitable trust. Should it do so, as the Trust is to be monitored by the Gambling Commission, this would bring the Lottery operator under its remit in one regulatory aspect.
- The Government is currently consulting on the licensing and regulation of the National Lottery, and will be considering the issue of whether the National Lottery Commission's responsibilities should be separated. We consider, at this stage, that there is an argument for including the National Lottery under the remit of the Gambling Commission. It might be possible to transfer experienced Lottery Commission staff to the new Gambling Commission to ensure that there is no conflict of interest between maximising the returns to Good Causes and the interests of the rest of the commercial industry. As there would be serious cost and resource implications for the Gambling Commission we will reserve judgment on this matter until the Government has finished its consultation with all interested parties.
149 Ev 59 and 136 (Vol III), and see paragraphs 33 and 34 Back
150 QQ 363 to 365 Back
151 Ev 1 (Vol II) Back
152 Ev 10 -13 (Vol II) Back
153 Ev 62 (Vol III) Back
154 Ev 100 (Vol III) Back
155 Ev 99 (Vol III) Back