Law on lotteries under review that could make Richard Desmond’s Health Lottery give more to charity

Ministers order consultation amid questions over amount given to good causes

Ministers have ordered a review of the laws on lotteries amid concern about the amount of money Richard Desmond’s Health Lottery pays to good causes.

The Government confirmed this week that a consultation on “society lotteries” – promoted nationally by the Health Lottery – will be held in coming months.

The Culture Secretary Maria Miller made the move amid speculation about the sales impact of Mr Desmond’s scheme on the National Lottery and the amount of money raised for good causes.

Until 16 months ago, the National Lottery – whose operator Camelot Group is owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund – enjoyed a monopoly on nationally-marketed prize draws.

In October 2011, Mr Desmond, whose other interests include the Daily Express, Channel 5 and the Television X pornography channel, launched the Health Lottery, which manages and administers UK prize draws on behalf of a collection of 51 smaller “society lotteries”. There is little difference between the two games. For £1 customers choose six numbers between 1 and 50 and check them against a twice-weekly televised draw.

However unlike the National Lottery, which gives 28 per cent of ticket sales to good causes, the Health Lottery legally contributes only 20 per cent.

The Health Lottery pays the lower rate because different rules apply to “society lotteries”, which have traditionally operated on a local basis.

Last summer the National Council for Voluntary Organisations expressed concern about the issue, telling the Department of Culture, Media and Sport: “It is of great importance that the Health Lottery does not set a dangerously low precedent of reducing the acceptable levels of lottery funds that must go to charity.”

However the Health Lottery has supporters in the third sector, such as Joe Saxton, founder of the research firm NpfSynergy, who chaired a recent meeting of charities.  He said: “There was complete agreement that any increase would mean less money is raised for charities. The reason for this is simple. If you increased the minimum from the current 20 per cent to say 40 per cent all the current lotteries that have a 20 per cent or 25 per cent or 30 per cent profit will have to stop functioning, so that money will be lost.”

The National Lottery has claimed it is losing sales of £1m a week to Mr Desmond’s scheme, but lost a landmark legal challenge last August. The High Court said that the issue of whether multiple society lotteries should be permitted was “a political question” for ministers.

In research commissioned by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and released late last year, NERA Economic Consulting estimated that the Health Lottery was costing Camelot between £40,000 and £305,000 a week in lost sales. However it said that the total amount going to good causes was likely to be higher as a result of Mr Desmond’s scheme.

Announcing a consultation in December, the Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, said: “Lotteries are hugely important in raising very large amounts  of money for charities and community groups up and down the country. But with a changing market it is right that we make sure that the main priority for each and every lottery is to raise money for good causes.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Desmond’s company Northern & Shell said the Health Lottery had raised £29m for charities. She said: “Camelot is over a hundred times the size of the Health Lottery, is a protected monopoly and has delivered record sales and profits for its Canadian owners.

“It controls more than 99 per cent of the UK lottery market, so there is really no viable comparison with the Health Lottery.

“The argument should not be about the percentage but about how to maximize the total contribution that society lotteries like the Health Lottery are able to make.”

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...

MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?