We have been following developments with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (“DCMS”) consultation on society lottery reform. Society lotteries have played an important role in charity fundraising. However, there was a concern that limits on the sizes of such lotteries impeded their development and the ability to support charities across the country. The current limits, it is felt, can restrict growth and can require society lotteries to take on more unwieldy structures and ‘umbrellas’ to carry out their activities. DCMS has now responded to the consultation.
What is DCMS saying?
The DCMS response is that the annual sales limit for society lotteries will be raised to £50m (current limit of £10m). Although many will note that a £100m limit was contemplated last year.
In addition to the annual sales limit, DCMS said the maximum draw prize for these lotteries will also increase from £400,000 to £500,000 while the individual per-draw sales limit will jump from £4m to £5m.
There was also comment that reform in this area will “create the best landscape” to “protect the [the National Lottery’s] special place” while helping “society lotteries to thrive”.
What is DCMS not saying?
Crucially, the DCMS response does not include an indication of when the new limits will come into force. The society lottery sector will welcome the opportunity for growth and simpler structures with DCMS’ announcement. But there will disappointment in the sector that there is no clear timetable for implementation of any new rules.
For society lotteries, there will be a future Gambling Commission consultation looking at the application of lottery produced income and the good causes to which the funds are distributed.