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NEWSFLASH: Gambling Commission consults on new licence conditions and codes of practice for the lotteries sector

The Gambling Commission (“GC”) is consulting on proposed changes to its Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (“LCCP”) applying to the lotteries sector – both to society and local authority lottery operators and their commercial partners, External Lottery Manager (“ELMs”).

The proposals, which are out for consultation from 20 July to 30 September, are aimed at improving transparency for lottery players.

Full details, including how to respond to the Consultation and a template for doing so, are available here:

The main proposed changes are to require all operators to publish annually the percentage of all lottery proceeds that go directly to the purpose of the society (the “good cause”) or to the purposes for which the local authority has power to incur expenditure, and to oblige those who promote lotteries as part of a branded lottery scheme to make it clearer to players the name of the society whose lottery they are participating in before they purchase a ticket.

Some of you may recall that, back in May, having listened to Sarah Harrison, CEO of the GC, deliver her keynote address to the Lotteries Council Annual Conference, I reported that these changes were afoot, and this Consultation should therefore come as no surprise. Any changes brought about as a result will come into force before April 2018.

The GC points out that the lotteries landscape has changed significantly since the Gambling Act came into force 10 years ago and that society lotteries now play a crucial role in supporting good causes in Great Britain. This Consultation takes on board various recommendations of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee when it looked at society lotteries in 2015 and proposes new Social Responsibility Code provisions, which have the force of Licence Conditions.

Whilst many society lottery schemes pay considerably more than the statutory minimum of 20% of proceeds to the good cause, some only pay the minimum and the GC believes it is reasonable to introduce a new Social Responsibility Code provision 4.3.1 obliging operators to make this information available to consumers, to enable them to make an informed choice on how to support charity. It is proposed to require this data in charities’ annual reports, on the lottery page of their websites or by “any other means appropriate to the size and scale of the organisation”.

In 2012, the GC published Guidance on branded, or “umbrella” lottery schemes and it has been engaging with the operators of such schemes since, in order to ensure that they are providing sufficient information to consumers to enable them to determine which society lottery they are participating in. The GC now proposes to beef these measures up by the introduction of a new Social Responsibility Code provision 4.3.2 requiring advertising and marketing to make clear that each draw is on behalf of separate identified societies and that the name of the brand is secondary to the name of the society, including on lottery tickets.

The Consultation also seeks comments on the GC’s proposals to clarify the definitions of “high frequency”, “instant win” and “low frequency” lotteries. These definitions dictate, for example, which of the GC’s Remote Technical Standards (“RTS”) will apply, since many will only apply to the last two types.

The proposed definitions are as follows:

  • “high frequency” lottery – one in which any draw takes place less than one hour after a draw in a previous lottery promoted on behalf of the same non-commercial society or local authority or as part of the same multiple society lottery scheme;
  • “instant win” lottery – one in which every draw takes place either before, or at the point of, purchase of tickets by participants; and
  • “low frequency” lottery – a series of separate lotteries promoted on behalf of the same non-commercial society or local authority or as part of the same multiple society lottery scheme where there is a period of at least two days between each lottery.

At present it is unclear how those lotteries falling between “high frequency” and “low frequency”, with draws more than one hour, but less than two days, apart, will fall to be classified and perhaps the answer to that will emerge as a result of the consultation process.

Have your say on this Consultation before 30 September, using the link above. Should you have any questions or concerns, do please contact me at or on 07767782997.