The Gambling Commission has today released a consultation on society lottery reform, seeking industry views on planned changes to lottery financial limits and to make lottery fundraising more transparent to consumers.

Societies have long argued that lottery financial limits contained in the Gambling Act 2005, which have not been increased since 2009, have not kept pace with inflation and hamper their fundraising efforts.

The Government is proposing to:

  • raise the maximum value of ticket sales in a single society lottery from £4m to £5m;
  • increase the maximum individual prize per lottery from £400,000 to £500,000 (10% of the proceeds); and
  • increase the aggregate annual proceeds for all lotteries promoted by a society under its licence from £10m to £50m.

In addition, the Government is planning to improve customer transparency regarding society lotteries. Promoting societies will continue to receive a minimum of 20% of all ticket sales, which must be applied towards the society’s purpose (often a charitable cause). The proposals will require society lotteries to make it clear to consumers the percentage the society will receive from each ticket sale and the odds of winning a prize. Whilst 20% is the minimum legal requirement, the actual percentage of ticket sales paid to the promoting society varies in practice between lotteries.

Richard Williams, a specialist gambling lawyer and Partner at Keystone Law, said of the proposals:

If implemented, these proposed changes will make society lotteries more attractive to consumers due to the increased individual prize limit. As a result, the changes will ensure that charities continue to benefit financially from their share of the gambling “pie”. Consumers will welcome the proposals to make it clear how much of each ticket sale will go to the promoting society, so that they can ensure that their chosen cause receives its fair share of revenue.”

The consultation closes on 12 March 2020.