Almira Mohamed, director at Lotto Social, explains why she believes new legislation against EuroMillions betting is a step forward by the government.
The new legislation proposed in March 2017 set out to prohibit people from betting on non-UK EuroMillions lotteries. This law came under the Gambling Act of 2005 which altered the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1963, stating that any bookmaker or persons in charge of taking bets who placed one on the outcome of the National Lottery would lose their license.
It is already illegal to bet on The Lotto and The EuroMillions in the UK and the government has simply closed the loophole that betting companies have been taking advantage of.
In 2004, EuroMillions was born. Its founding participants were the UK, alongside France and Spain. Today, nine different countries take part in the lottery, each with their own separate games, allowing hundreds of millions of people to try their luck at winning enormous prizes. This did pose a problem however, as each game was technically separate per country, allowing some gambling facilities to offer bets on the outcomes of each.
The government saw this as an unethical practice that belittled the positivity of the National Lottery, specifically negating the Gambling Act of 2005. They then submitted a proposal through a license condition that disallowed these facilities that operated under the Gambling Commission to offer these bets, which they then monitored through a series of questions in order to gauge reactions and the impact it would have on good causes and the businesses affected.
The Government further supported their stance on this new legislation stating that this conduct blurred the lines between betting and the National Lottery. They wanted to prevent consumers from confusing the two (with a number of people thinking they were buying actual tickets as opposed to bets), and protect returns that went toward Good Causes. But, betting operators are still permitted to offer bets on international lotteries.
Responses to the new legislation have been mixed, with some claiming that this ban will negatively affect lottery sales. Nigel Birrell, CEO of Lottoland, was once quoted at the time as saying, “We believe that today’s decision is unjustified, and sets a dangerous precedent for policy-making on the basis of no evidence. It will do nothing but stifle innovation in the sector.”
However, at Lotto Social we highly welcome the changes and are in approval of its passing. It is great that the government has acknowledged that lottery bets posed a risk to good causes dependent on National Lottery sales. Whilst this is a win for The National Lottery and the very important work it does for Good Causes, we also need to recognise that consumers are demanding alternative ways to play The National Lottery, particularly in these times of austerity.
£2.50 for one chance at the EuroMillions is not affordable by all. What the betting companies were doing, were discounting on this – which of course there was a demand for. However, there are other ways to play and get more value and chances to win. Such as syndicates.
Indeed, syndicates now count for one in five wins. With the demise of betting on the EuroMillions, we anticipate that this number will soon rise.
Lotto Social is here to make playing together fun and affordable, all the while ensuring that lottery charities win when we do.