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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Threat to society lottery income

This news post is almost 9 years old

The UK government should be looking to support the surge in society lotteries not over-regulate, according to a new report.

Tighter controls on the operations of society lotteries could see almost £90m lost from the income of UK charities.

The Centre for Economic and Business Research(Cebr) is calling on the government to use a Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) consultation into society lotteries to increase the amount of money going to good causes rather than reduce it.

Cebr’s report, What have we got to lose? How Society Lotteries could do even more for good causes, warns that this kind of funding could be cut in half if the government goes ahead with proposals to tighten regulatory controls on society lotteries.

Society lotteries are run for the benefit of non-commercial societies and include anything from a raffle to a large society lottery which can sell tickets worth more than £20,000.

They are operated by many of the UK’s best known charities as well as hundreds of local charities such as hospices.

Currently 20% of all ticket sales' income must go directly to the good cause and cannot be used to cover running costs.

The report, which was commissioned by the Lotteries Counciland the Institute of Fundraising, however, calls for that rule to be relaxed.

It claims that spreading the income requirements over three years would enable smaller organisations to invest in setting up bigger lotteries.

Fears that the increasing popularity of society lotteries is having a negative impact on National Lottery ticket sales, however, means the DCMS consultation is expected to consider imposing tighter restrictions.

The report notes, however although the sector raised £155 million for good causes in 2012-13 this is “a figure which has increased in every year since the financial crisis, over which time personal giving has faltered” and National Lottery sales have soared.

Clive Mollett, chairman of the Lotteries Council, said: “We are delighted by the success and growing popularity of society lotteries. We would love to be able to do more to support the vast number of good causes we help fund across the length and breadth of Britain. We appeal to the government to look at our constructive proposals to create a win-win situation.”

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, added: “It’s clear that playing a lottery supporting a specific good cause is a popular way for the public to give money to charity, so we should do what we can to encourage it. We can do more to make it easier for charities to raise funds in this way and I hope ministers will read this report very carefully and act on its recommendations.”



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