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Society Lottery Reform

Volume 660: debated on Thursday 23 May 2019

As outlined in the consultation, we are considering changes to the sales and prize limits for society lotteries. The regulatory framework for lotteries must be appropriate, and both society lotteries and the national lottery should be able to thrive. We hope to respond to the consultation by the summer recess.

In February last year I wrote on behalf of the People’s Postcode Lottery to ask for the limit on charity lottery sales to be raised to £100 million. On 7 February I was told that the Department was “considering” that proposal. There have been 15 months of consideration and deliberation, so is it not now “make your mind up time”? Many of those charity lotteries are trying to fill the gaps left by the Government’s austerity policies, and it seems unfair to continue to hold them back. When the Minister announces the response to the consultation, will he commit to raising that limit in line with inflation?

The hon. Gentleman will not be surprised to hear that I will not announce the result of the consultation until we have that result. We have been saying for some time that we would seek to do that by the summer, and that is what we will do. It is important to consider carefully the balance of arguments. The hon. Gentleman is right to say that society lotteries make a considerable contribution, but he will understand that I also have a responsibility to protect the interests of the national lottery. Getting that balance right is not straightforward, and we seek to do it so that a contribution to the life of this country will continue to be made by both society lotteries and the national lottery.