In a repeat of what has taken place on previous occasions when a national downtrend in the volume of house sales is experienced (as is the case currently according to recently updated HM Land Registry UK House Price Index reports) the Gambling Commission has published a warning to homeowners offering their house as a prize in so-called “house raffles” and supposed skill-based competitions, in relation to which participants buy a ticket to enter. One has only to make a Google search for “house raffle” and numerous current examples of this type of scheme appear.
The Commission’s warning (that can be downloaded below) is that the organisers of such schemes could be breaking the law by promoting an unlawful lottery. It is extremely important that anyone thinking of mounting a raffle or competition offering their house as a prize first obtains specialist professional advice. Since the “house raffle” craze first arose in 2008, we have advised a number of homeowners how best to structure their scheme to minimise the risks.
We are also able to advise solicitors who may be asked to assist their clients to mount such a scheme, although any such solicitors should first acquaint themselves with a Law Society practice note first published in 2011, highlighting associated risks relating not only to illegal lotteries but also to fraud and money laundering.