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Launch of Health Lottery

Launch of Health Lottery
Updated: Wednesday 23rd April 2014

This weekend will see the launch of the highly-controversial Health Lottery, after its sole investor Richard Desmond announced plans for his latest moneymaking venture earlier this year. With tickets scheduled to go on sale on Thursday 29th September 2011, the society lottery has come under severe criticism by charity leaders – over the fact that the Health Lottery will be giving considerably less to good causes in comparison to the National Lottery.

With plans to promote this lottery game across the rest of his publications, including the likes of OK! Magazine, the Daily Star and Daily Express newspapers, the Channel 5 owner has high hopes to raise “a minimum of £50m a year” for numerous UK health charities – but with the Health Lottery donating only 20.34p from each £1 ticket sold, at just 0.34p above the legal minimum required to constitute as a “society lottery”, many charities are questioning the integrity of this lottery.

In order to meet the requirements of a society lottery, according to the Gambling Act 2005 the society in question must be ‘non-commercial’ – with the maximum number of tickets sold at £10 million a year. Yet whilst the National Lottery is not itself a society lottery, it does however give 28p per £1, with an additional 12p paid towards lottery duty.

Sir Stephen Bubb of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations summed up the Health Lottery as “a pretty disgraceful development,” whilst chief executive of London Youth Nick Wilkie said: “It seems to me that if one runs a lottery and gives away less to good causes than the National Lottery, then one is profiteering on the back of the British public’s goodwill.”

Although lotteries are not permitted to operate for commercial gain, the Health Lottery can profit by functioning as an “external lottery manager” for the society lotteries – with the Health Lottery already registering 51 society lotteries.
Highlighting the positives behind his new lottery scheme, Desmond explained that: “The Health Lottery will provide something extra, extra choice, extra fun, extra winners and extra financial resources for health projects all over Great Britain. I couldn’t be more proud to be the owner of the Health Lottery brand and therefore fully associated with it.

The Health Lottery draws will take place on Saturday nights, with the odds of winning the top prize an estimated 2 million to 1. There are three prize tiers in total, with five matching numbers scoring the jackpot win of £100,000, four matching numbers awarding £500 and three numbers winning £50.

Written by Diana Nubuck

Published: Monday 26th September 2011

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