Hot issue: Will the challenge to Camelot benefit charities?

The new online lottery game, monday, presents itself as an alternative to the National Lottery and concentrates on charities that the organisers say get a raw deal from other distributors. Their minimum income must be £500k.

YES - Sarah Hill, head of corporate and events fundraising, National Autistic Society

The new monday lottery is going to be extremely beneficial for charities nationwide.

At the NAS, we were thrilled when we heard about this opportunity, and couldn't wait to get involved. The reason it is different from the National Lottery is that it is solely a charity lottery - the 30p donation for every ticket sold will go directly to the charity chosen by the player.

Funds raised from the new lottery are non-restricted, meaning that each charity can choose how best to spend the money. Without unrestricted revenue streams, charities can find it difficult to fund smaller, local projects and the essential running costs that might not attract specific sponsorship. In addition to the funds raised, the monday lottery will raise awareness of all the charities involved - this could be extremely positive, particularly for smaller and less well-known charities.

With the introduction of monday, charities in the UK will now benefit from funding from two lotteries that will essentially complement each other. Whereas monday will provide charities with crucial unrestricted funding, the National Lottery will continue to be a vital source of project funding. This is a win-win situation for all the charities involved.

NO - Sylvia Lee, head of fundraising and marketing, Phoenix House

The new lottery will benefit charities because more money from tickets will go directly to them. It is also a great way of raising awareness, because participants get to choose which charity they donate to, hopefully learning a little about that organisation at the same time.

But it has been disappointing that, so far, the charities chosen to benefit from monday are already well-established and substantially funded.

There are many smaller charities - underfunded, local or less 'attractive', but equally worthwhile - that would benefit greatly from both the income and the exposure.

By widening the choice of charities that benefit, Chariot could actually broaden the lottery's appeal. People tend to have very personal reasons for supporting charities, to which they often remain loyal.

The prize of untied voluntary income is the holy grail for all charities, and it would be a shame if an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the new lottery was not given to all charities on a needs basis.

YES - Andy Williamson, director, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance

People assume we are funded by the Government, through the NHS or at least by the National Lottery, but the fact is that we receive no funding from these sources. Every penny of the £1.2m that allows us to operate each year is raised by members of the public. We are lucky to have that support.

However, without statutory or lottery funding, people are dying unnecessarily because we can only operate within limited hours. With lottery support, we could extend our hours and save even more lives - we have ambitions to become the first air ambulance in the UK that operates 24 hours a day.

So, yes, if the new lottery is less restricted in the types of charities it will support, this challenge to Camelot will benefit the voluntary sector. It is high time that charities like us got the support the public want us to have, so we welcome this new development.

It might mean lottery support for us in the future.

We are a more advanced service than traditional air ambulances, because we use the fastest helicopter and take the doctor to the patient rather than simply ferrying the patient to hospital. But this comes at a cost - and that cost needs to be met.

NO - Stephen Dunmore, chief executive, Big Lottery Fund

Any initiative that raises funds for charities is good news. Monday is restricting its support to 70 out of thousands of charities, something that has disappointed many in the sector.

We consider it central to our mission to give all voluntary and community organisations access to our funding. Thousands have benefited in the past and thousands will benefit in the future. And we've funded the majority of organisations who are members of monday.

In fact, the National Lottery has ploughed more money back into society than any in the world.

The Big Lottery Fund awards more than £600m in grants every year - that's £6bn committed to date. Sixty to 70 per cent of our funding goes to voluntary and community organisations.

We are also giving people a greater say in where lottery money goes.

They can vote by telephone and internet for their favourite project in the People's Millions TV contest.

So let's welcome monday and be happy for the few who will enjoy its funding.

However, let's not forget that, despite some of the publicity, it isn't really competing with the National Lottery, which benefits a much wider range of charities and communities on a completely different scale.

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