Members of Parliament have urged Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright to raise the annual sales limit for charity lotteries to £100 million. Motions tabled in Westminster and Holyrood call for a reform in the charity law that was proposed last year by the Gambling Commission and has received support by most political parties.
If the changes are implemented, charity or society lotteries will be able to raise up to £100 million a year, which would have an immediate positive impact on the funding of charitable organizations, according to proponents of the idea. Currently, society lotteries are allowed by the Gambling Act to limit their sales up to £4 million per draw and £10 million per year. The law also limits the maximum draw prize to £400,000.
The idea for increasing the annual sales cap was proposed in a report by the Gambling Commission, which was asked last year to provide advice for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). In its review, the gambling industry watchdog pointed out that a much larger portion of the proceeds from charity lotteries was used for funding good causes in comparison with the proceeds from the National Lottery, which did not face the same limitations.
The proposed changes included raising the cap of the annual sales from £10 million to £100 million and introducing a “life-changing” £1 million draw prize. These, according to the Commission, would make society lotteries more popular among local communities and would help charities raise more funding for a variety of causes and services such as mental health causes, programs for decreasing the social isolation of older people, air ambulance services, and The Royal British Legion.
In this consultation with the regulator, the DCMS demonstrated a willingness to back the reforms but it is yet to publish its response. Meanwhile, politicians and charities from all over the country have announced their support for the move.
Charity Lotteries Reform Unites MPs
Two motions in support of the reforms were tabled almost simultaneously in Westminster by Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, and in Holyrood by Miles Briggs, MSP for Lothian. With this move, they urged Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright and Charity Minister Mims Davies to implement the increase and provide much more significant funding for the charity sector.
The idea for finding more money for good causes have also united the members of Parliament at a time when there is extreme division even within parties on the question of Brexit. The proposed reforms in the society lotteries have been backed by several Parliamentary parties, namely the Conservatives, Labour, Scottish National Party, Liberal Democrats, the DUP and Plaid Cymru.
The motions come only a few months after research revealed that both the public and MPs are against regulations that stop the competition between the National Lottery and society lotteries. The report published in January by nfpSynergy shows that 62 per cent of the 151 MPs polled wants to remove the limitations to the amount of money charities are allowed to raise through lotteries. The percentages for the general public are similar, revealing the same sentiment across the political class and the people.