UKGC Releases FAQ Guide On Lotteries & Draws

Viktor Vangelov | Published 25 Jan 2019, 2:51 p.m.

In addition to regulating the market and ensuring that all operators work in accordance with the laws and other regulation, the UK Gambling Commission also publishes useful information for players, and all others who might be interested. Two days ago, the Commission published information on Lotteries, raffles, competitions and prize draws, explaining the differences between these concepts and what each of them stands for. This could be very useful for all those who are participating in said events or are considering participating.

Illegal House Lotteries

The way in which lotteries, competitions, raffles and prize draws operate is completely different. It seems that there is a surge of house lotteries and other similar events where members of the public have the opportunity to purchase a ticket that usually doesn’t cost more than few quid and get a chance to win massive prizes, such as cars or even houses. The Commission decided to investigate a number of such events and it turned out that many of them were organised illegally.

In 2017, 26 privately organised house lotteries were reported to the Commission, whereas in 2018 the number of reported lotteries was 29. The Commission took action in multiple cases, with just seven cases where no further action was taken.

So, it appears that despite the fact that many house lotteries have been investigated, they are still quite popular and plenty of new house lotteries are still popping up. Let’s have a look at the differences between lotteries and raffles on one side and competitions and free draws on the other, as explained by Jo Cartwright, the Commission’s lottery specialist.

Lotteries Explained

The term ‘lotteries’ is used in the UK Gambling Law and raffles fall under that category as well. You need to pay to enter a lottery and prizes it is a game of chance, a random draw of tickets or numbers determines the winner of a lottery in most cases. It is possible to add an element of skill to game, for instance, in cases of a tie, a tiebreaker can determine the winner.

A lottery cannot be run for profit or commercial gains, in most cases it can only be organised for charitable causes, or other good causes like for the benefit of sporting or cultural clubs, as well as other non-profit organisations.

Lotteries are considered to be a form of gambling in the UK and are regulated under the Gambling Act. All regulations that apply to lotteries are aimed to protect players and make sure that the games are operated fairly. All lotteries that are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission managed to raise a total of £230 million for good causes in 2017 alone.

Free Draws And Competitions

Many people organise raffles where the main prize is a house or a car, but these are actually free draws, or prize competitions which aren’t actually forms of gambling. If something is a prize draw or a competition and it is being run like an illegal lottery, you can report it to the UKGC and they can take legal action.

You cannot organise a lottery or a raffle it doesn’t benefit a good cause. On the other hand, if you organise a free draw or a prize competition, these events aren’t considered to be a form of gambling, so they aren’t regulated by the UKGC.