Charity lotteries ‘should be able to offer £1m jackpots’

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Campaigners want end to regulations dating back to 1976.

10th July 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Charity lotteries should be able to offer jackpots of up to £1m, according to an MP.

Priti Patel said the move could give good causes a £125m windfall over the next five years.

Currently, lotteries run by or on behalf of charities have a maximum top prize of £25,000, as specified in the 1976 Lotteries & Amusements Act.

Campaigners say this is outdated and severely impacts on charities’ ability to use lotteries as a fundraising tool.

Patel is now urging her colleagues in the UK Government to up the total to £1m when a review of lottery laws is announced before the summer recess on July 25. 

She said: “The changes are common sense, achievable and crucially come at no cost to the British taxpayer or Treasury. It feels very much like a win-win to me.

“By making small changes in the lotteries law we can ensure that thousands of charities in every constituency are also winners.

“What most people don’t appreciate is that charities’ ability to raise more money through charity lotteries – and thus do more for our communities – has been severely limited for years because of increasingly outdated legislation.

“At present, charity lotteries have stringent limits on how much they can raise for charity each year and in each lottery draw, as well as a cap on their top prize. Many will be surprised that any limit should be imposed on charity fundraising at all.”

More than 500 society lotteries and MPs from all parties support reforming the current regulations, while a recent poll found two out of three voters also back deregulation.

 Martin Ellice, joint managing director at The Health Lottery, which supports 2900 good causes, said: “Along with our colleagues in the third sector we have been calling for change for the last six years. It is ridiculous that a prize limit from the 1976 Lotteries & Amusements Act still continues unchanged.

“Every day that passes is another day lost to maximise support for brilliant charities who do so much for their communities. With many charities under increasing financial pressure we hope that the Government realises how much depends on a speedy decision.

“It seems bizarre that while there is no limit to our generosity, artificial limits still exist to stop charities benefiting from that generosity. “