UK: DCMS publishes its findings on the interplay between “lotteries” and “betting”

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the Government department responsible for the oversight of the gambling industry has published a report following a recent Committee hearing. This follows the Call for Information late last year.

As well as containing useful detail on the way the Government and the Gambling Commission view the lottery sector generally, there is a section that contains a confirmation that products that amount to betting on the outcome of lotteries may face future regulation which could, in effect, close the loophole in the Gambling Act that lottery operators say is being exploited. Camelot, the operator of the National Lottery has called for three actions, reported as follows (quoted verbatim):

  • Prohibition of betting on lotteries either in betting shops or online. The ‘loophole’ which allows operators to offer bets on the EuroMillions draw as promoted in another country should be closed; and the ban on betting on the National Lottery should be extended to all UK licensed lotteries;
  • Improved clarity of marketing. Camelot noted that High Street bookmakers have included the term ‘bet’ in the name of their products based on betting on the outcome of lotteries, for example Irish Lotto ‘Bet’. It considered this approach to be helpful in reducing customer confusion, and argued that all products offering bets on lotteries or lottery-style draws should be marketed only on the basis that they were bets (and as a minimum must clearly include the word ‘bet’ in their title, and preferably must not use ‘lotto’ or ‘lottery’ or similar wording at all).
  • Re-define all bets on lotteries as ‘pure’ lotteries These fall within the definitions of both ‘betting’ and ‘lotteries’ for the purposes of the Gambling Act 2005, and the Secretary of State has the power to make regulations to specify that such transactions should make regulations to specify that such transactions should be classed—and therefore must be regulated—as lotteries under the Act (section 14(7)).

The issues raised by the report are now with the Gambling Commission to consider.

The report can be read here.