Government announces proposals to raise financial limits on society lotteries

A Government consultation has today been launched on changes to the amount of money that society lotteries can raise for good causes. It can be downloaded below, as too can be the advice provided to DCMS by the Gambling Commission.

The consultation follows the society lottery sector’s calls for limits to be increased. It runs for ten weeks and recommends:

  • raising the maximum amount that society lotteries can raise for good causes from £10 million to £100 million per year and
  • increasing the maximum draw prize from its current limit of £400,000 to £500,000.

It also asks for views on increasing the number of tickets that society lotteries can sell to a value of £100 million per year and the amount they can raise per draw to £5 million. The consultation is being conducted via an ​online survey, and will close on 7 September 2018.

The Government believes that the above changes would allow charities and community groups to increase fundraising methods through society lotteries, whilst at the same time protecting the National Lottery’s ability to raise money for good causes.

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society said:

“Society lotteries make a vital difference to communities up and down the country. They raise hundreds of millions of pounds every year, supporting our veterans, lifeboats, hospices, air ambulances and many other great causes. They are an important fundraising tool for charities and we want to ensure that both society lotteries and the National Lottery are able to thrive now and in the future.”

As stated on the website:

  • society lotteries raised over £255 million for good causes in 2016/17 and
  • People’s Postcode Lottery has raised more than £310 million for UK charities since 2005. The money it raises is awarded to good causes through a collection of themed charity trusts, and also directly supports a range of charities including Oxfam, Dogs Trust, Maggie’s and PDSA.

Clara Govier, Managing Director of People’s Postcode Lottery has welcomed the plans to raise the charity lottery annual turnover limit to £100 million, saying that this “will help direct millions more to charities at no cost to Government or the taxpayer. However, expressing a sentiment with which we agree, she goes on to say: 

“We also feel Ministers should be more ambitious in their plans for the draw limit. The draw limit – the limit on the value of tickets in a single charity lottery draw – was originally set at £2 million in 2005 and then four years later in 2009 it was raised to £4 million. Nine years on Ministers are proposing to raise it again but only to £5 million – despite charity lottery proceeds more than tripling in the same period. It is vital that we “future-proof” the new draw limit, as it could well be another decade until the law is updated again”

Future-proofing of the type that Clara mentions has yet to find favour with the Government. Within the consultation, the Government rejects arguments from the Lotteries Council and others for an increase to £10 million sales per draw stating:

“We do not see a pressing need for reform on this scale, and instead favour gradual increases in the size of the market. It will take time for lotteries to grown their sales from current levels to £10 million and we feel that more understanding of the impact on the sector is needed before deregulating to this level”.

The Government’s preferred option is to raise the per draw sales limit by merely £1 million to £5 million, in line with the recommendation it has received from the Gambling Commission, whose Executive Director, Paul Hope, has welcomed the consultation, saying: “We’re pleased that DCMS has announced this consultation – it offers an excellent opportunity for all those with an interest in lotteries to ensure their voices are heard. We would encourage any interested parties to respond”. 

Download article PDF: GC Society lottery advice to dcms