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Society Lotteries Consultation

Volume 644: debated on Monday 2 July 2018

I wish to inform the House that on Friday, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport published a consultation on proposals for changes to the sales and prize limits for society lotteries to help charities raise more money.

The consultation follows the DCMS Select Committee recommendation in March 2015 that the Department look at whether limits on sales and prizes should be raised. Society lotteries are now a fundamental part of the giving landscape, and alongside the National Lottery, play an important role in supporting good causes across Great Britain. We have taken expert advice from the Gambling Commission and we believe that the proposed package of reforms maintains the balance between allowing charities and others to increase their fundraising through lotteries while protecting the unique position of the National Lottery.

We have considered options and the case for change carefully. A vital concern in developing proposals has been to ensure there is no risk to National Lottery’s ability to raise funds for good causes. The Gambling Commission has advised that to date there is no evidence that society lotteries have had a detrimental effect on the National Lottery. The two currently offer distinct propositions to players, with the National Lottery raising large sums across the UK, characterised by life-changing prizes. Society lotteries offer smaller prizes, generally with their proceeds being returned to a specified good cause.

We are consulting on a range of options which seek to maintain the distinct nature of the two sectors but allow a degree of growth for society lotteries, the impact of which will be measured by the Gambling Commission.

Society lotteries have to return at least 20% of their sales to good causes. Currently they have a cap of £4 million of sales per draw and a maximum prize a society lottery can offer of £400,000. We are consulting on the following options:

Individual per draw sales limits

Retaining the current limit of £4 million;

Raising the limit to £5 million (Government’s preferred option);

Raising the limit to £10 million;

Reducing the limit to £2.5 million

Individual per draw prize limits

Retaining the current limit of £400,000;

Raising the limit to £500,000 (Government’s preferred option);

Raising the limit to £1 million;

Reducing the limit to £250,000

In addition we are consulting on annual sales.

Annual sales limits

Retaining the current limit of £10 million;

Raising the limit to £50 million;

Raising the limit to £100 million (Government’s preferred option)

The preferred set of proposals in the consultation document would raise the per draw limit to £5 million and the annual limit to £100 million. This would increase the amount of fundraising that can be done through society lotteries in a year ten-fold. It would also increase the maximum prize to £500,000.

The consultation also considers increasing the limits for small society lotteries, which do not require a Gambling Commission licence to operate and are instead registered with local authorities. Currently per draw proceeds are capped at £20,000 and annual proceeds are capped at £250,000. I am looking at options to increase the per draw limit to £30,000 or £40,000 and the annual limit to £400,000 or £500,000.

The consultation will run for 10 weeks and close on 7 September. Relevant documents have been published at: consultation-on-society-lottery-reform