Following consultation on changes affecting society lottery operating licence requirements the Gambling Commission will introduce new changes to its society lottery rules. The 'Social Responsibility Code', which must be adhered to by all Gambling Commission licence-holders, is being amended so that from 4 April 2018:
Where 'a number of society lotteries are promoted under one brand… licensees must ensure that it is clear to consumers (or potential consumers), which society lotteries are being promoted'. This rule was conceived to ensure that participants in branded or 'umbrella' lotteries can readily identify the individual lottery or lotteries they are buying a ticket for and who will benefit, and so, in more general terms, 'make it clear to consumers before they buy a lottery ticket exactly which society or charity the lottery proceeds are going to.'
All licensees will have to 'publish what proportion of money raised from lottery ticket sales in the previous year was returned directly for the purposes of the society'. The Gambling Commission suggests, for example, publishing this information in the charity's annual report or online on its website. If the lottery raised money for a number of beneficiaries it does not need to illustrate the proportion allocated to each of them. Sarah Gardner, the Executive Director for Lotteries at the Gambling Commission, commented on the changes to say 'it is important that information is available for consumers to help them to understand which good causes are being supported and how much of their money goes to the good cause'. This represents a proactive step by the Gambling Commission and perhaps a greater degree of involvement in areas of regulation usually covered by the Fundraising Regulator and Charity Commission.
Whilst the new rules may seem cumbersome they may also help Charities running their own lotteries to clearly demonstrate the benefits of the lottery to the charity. These changes will enhance the public's understanding of the scale of funds that are being contributed to these good causes.