Health Lottery faces inquiry over claims it hurts charities

Culture Secretary says Richard Desmond's flashy new lottery could create more harm than good

The controversial Health Lottery, launched with a fanfare last month by the media tycoon Richard Desmond, will be investigated after the Culture Secretary added his voice to concerns it was doing more harm than good.

Jeremy Hunt told MPs from the Culture, Media and Sport Committee that he had asked the Gambling Commission and the National Lottery Commission to investigate the enterprise.

Sir Stephen Bubb, head of Britain's voluntary associations, branded the Health Lottery a disgrace at its launch, pointing out that it will only pay out 20.34p of each £1 ticket sold and risked undermining the National Lottery, which gives 28p.

"I am worried about the Health Lottery because protecting the income of good causes is a very, very important responsibility that this Government has," the Culture Secretary told MPs on the committee yesterday, adding: "The National Lottery was set up in way that would generate money for those good causes.

"Society lotteries are allowed on the basis that they are local lotteries. We are doing some work to look into what the impact of the Health Lottery might be on good-cause revenues."

Desmond has promised that the new lottery, which has its Saturday night draw on Channel 5, which he owns, will generate a minimum of £50m a year for local health charities, operating as 51 lotteries, each representing a local authority, which will take it in turn to be a beneficiary of the draw. Prizes range from £50 to £100,000.

Yesterday, asked by the committee chairman, John Whittingdale, whether the Health Lottery was legal and whether the Government would take action, Mr Hunt said: "If they conclude that what's happening is not legal, I would expect them(the commission) to take robust action."

Pointing out that the National Lottery had raised £26bn for good causes since its launch in 1994, a spokesman for the Department of Media Culture and Sport said: "If there is evidence that good causes or individual society lotteries were affected we will take action to address this."

While the Gambling Commission signed off the new Health Lottery, critics have said it circumvents strict caps on the turnover of individual lotteries – which must have a maximum revenue of £10 million - by operating as an umbrella group.

Martin Hall, the Health Lottery chief executive, dismissed the criticisms, claiming that the launch of a rival had seen sales of the National Lottery rise.

"We know from recent data that sales in the National Lottery are in fact £50,000 higher per draw since the launch of the Health Lottery... When this is added to the £50m of new money the Health lottery will generate, this is excellent news for charities, with no losers in sight."

News
David Beckham
peopleFootballer joins No campaign
Sport
Angel Di Maria
Football
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
film
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
News
newsIn short, yes
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

Arts and Entertainment
art
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    QA Manual Tester - Agile

    £300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

    Bursar/Business Manager

    £70 - £100 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Experienced bursar or business...

    Secondary School Teachers in Ipswich

    Competitive & Flexible: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education are l...

    Teaching Assistant

    £45 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Qualified and/or experienced te...

    Day In a Page

    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
    The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

    The fall of Rome?

    Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
    Glasgow girl made good

    Glasgow girl made good

    Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
    Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

    Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

    Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
    Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

    Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

    Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
    The landscape of my imagination

    The landscape of my imagination

    Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories