HC 615, Fifth Report of Session 2014-15 - Report, Together with Formal Minutes Relating to the Report
- House of Commons - Culture Media and Sport Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
Society lotteries are intended to be primarily a means of raising money for charities and other good causes. The vast majority are often small, local and raise sums of money that may not be substantial, but are vital for the work of the organisations they support; the report 'Society Lotteries (HC 615)' examines the regulations which underpin their functions as they come in direct competition with larger, commercially run enterprises.
The Gambling Act 2005 relaxed some of the restrictions on such lotteries. This was not a cause of concern until the recent launch of some larger 'umbrella' lotteries, advertised nationally and run by commercial operations and giving close to the statutory minimum percentage of the proceeds of ticket sales to the good causes they supported. These are controversial in part because they are alleged to stretch the definition of a society lottery as primarily intended to raise money for good causes, and in part because they are seen by some as direct competitors to the National Lottery.
As a result there have been calls for restrictions to be imposed on large society lotteries, while others have suggested the success of the umbrella lotteries could be replicated elsewhere if regulations on society lotteries were relaxed.
The Committee has been guided in its approach by the principle that the regulatory regime governing society lotteries should encourage the maximum return to good causes and, provided that the lottery remains focused on its primary purpose, the licensing regime should be light - including continued exemption from gambling and lottery taxes.
Accordingly, the report recommends greater differentiation between the regulations applied to the great majority of lotteries which are small and local, and those applied to larger ones - especially those run on behalf of the good causes by commercial organisations, which tend to return smaller proportions of their funds to the charity than single-cause lotteries.
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