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Are we about to see the end of websites which can offer gambling on European Lotteries?

When the National Lottery and EuroMillions games were set up, the National Lottery also set up the Good Causes Fund as a charitable consortium which sets out to improve communities across the UK. The National Lottery donates a minimum of 28p of every £1 to the Fund as well as all unclaimed prizes and the interest generated and has raised more than 30 billion pounds since it started in 1994. 20% of the money goes to Sports, Arts, Heritage and 40% to Health, Education, Environment and charitable causes.

EuroMillions is one of the most popular lottery games in the world but there are also other lotteries that take place across Europe on a regular basis including EuroJackpot and lotteries in Spain, Germany and Ireland.

However, since 1994 various websites have been set up which have become extremely popular and which offer bets on the outcome of the EuroMillions game and other lotteries throughout Europe. Despite the fact that gambling legislation prohibits betting on National lotteries, it does not prohibit UK customers from betting on EuroMillions draws in other countries even though all of those are drawn centrally in France.

It has been easy in the last 10 years to search the internet and find several of these sites which offer bets on other lotteries and there has been an increasing swell of opinion which criticises these websites for taking money away from the good causes. This was one of the principal reasons for establishing lotteries in the first place. The websites are not bound by any commitment to give any stakes to good causes which is, of course, unlike the National Lottery.

Those who represent the websites argue that they represent “fair competition and an alternative from those disenfranchised with the current monopolistic market and offer”.

It seems that the Lotteries Minister Tracey Crouch does not agree and it was announced at the start of March that there will be a consultation on closing as what is described as a loop hole. Tracey Crouch said “We want to act to ensure that money going to good causes is protected and that there is no confusion around the EuroMillions draw, providing the same levels of clarity as there is with the National Lottery”.

There have been various accusations flying about from both sides of the argument relating to allegedly false and misleading statements, although it is not surprising to read that Camelot are very pleased with the recent announcement.

At the same time as this announcement the Malta Gaming Authority has awarded Lotto Warehouse its first B2B Class 4 platform licence, allowing the company to host managed betting on the outcome of lotteries. This company was set up in 2016 and will now be allowed to offer other operators the chance to add a portfolio of lottery betting products to their platforms.

Lottoland has filed an application to have its own lottery in several German federal states in order to challenge the German lottery monopoly and become the first private lottery operator of a major lottery in the country. This follows on the back of Lottoland receiving its approval in the middle of last year to operate in the Republic of Ireland, which was its third new licence territory in the past 12 months.

No doubt there will be further developments in this story when the consultation is released.