Acevo urges select committee to challenge Gambling Commission over Health Lottery

Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee will hear from the commission's chief executive and chair on Thursday

Select committee meeting room
Select committee meeting room

The charity chief executives body Acevo is calling on MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee to quiz the Gambling Commission over its handling of the Health Lottery at a hearing later this week.

The chief executive and chair of the Gambling Commission will appear before the committee on Thursday as part of its ongoing inquiry into gambling.

Acevo has sent MPs on the committee a dossier of information setting out its concerns about the Health Lottery and calling on members to raise the issue of the lottery with the Gambling Commission.

Acevo has been critical of the lottery since it was launched last year. Its main issue is that only 20p of every £1 spent on Health Lottery tickets goes to good causes, compared with about 28p from the sale of each £1 National Lottery ticket.

In the briefing paper, Acevo calls on MPs to ask the commission how it concluded that the Health Lottery met the requirements to become a society lottery, and whether it is monitoring the way the lottery is promoted.

"In light of the commission’s response, we would also urge the committee to consider holding a new inquiry specifically into rules surrounding society lotteries and the National Lottery, and their fitness for purpose in terms of protecting and promoting charitable income," the dossier says.

Acevo also says in the dossier that the Gambling Commission has twice refused to publish information on how it decided that the Health Lottery met requirements to be a society lottery.

"In lieu of this information, we have serious concerns about whether the rules are fit for purpose, and whether the Gambling Commission has the capacity and processes in place to adequately uphold the law on society lotteries with a view to protecting and promoting charitable income," the dossier says.

In October, Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, said the Gambling Commission would investigate whether the Health Lottery was diverting money from smaller society lotteries.

A spokesman for the Gambling Commission said that under the current legislation there was nothing preventing multiple society lotteries being promoted.

"Ministers have already asked the National Lottery and the Gambling Commission to examine the impact of society lotteries and the full results will be out in the first half of 2012," he said.

The regulator had carefully considered requests under the Freedom of Information Act to publish details of its decision to give the green light to the Health Lottery and the details of its responses were available on its website, he said.

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