The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has suggested that the minimum proportion of lottery proceeds that go to good causes should be increased from 20 per cent to 28 per cent.
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, wrote to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, about the Health Lottery, which was launched by the media owner Richard Desmond in September.
The lottery has caused controversy because 20p of every £1 spent on tickets goes to good causes – the minimum legal requirement – compared with about 28p from the sale of each £1 National Lottery ticket.
Hunt recently told a select committee that he was worried about the Health Lottery and that the Gambling Commission was investigating it. Etherington’s letter says the NCVO would be concerned if levels of charitable giving were affected by people buying Health Lottery tickets rather than National Lottery tickets.
"One way in which this could be addressed would be to require that the proportion of lottery funds going to charitable causes should increase from the current 20 per cent to at least 28 per cent," it says. "This would be in line with the current National Lottery arrangements."
It also says the Health Lottery could inspire the creation of more society lotteries, which it says would be a good thing for a diversity reasons, but that "it is therefore of great important that the Health Lottery does not set a dangerously low precedent of reducing the acceptable levels of lottery funds that must go to charity".
The letter says the NVCO would be supportive of the Health Lottery if it did raise additional funds for the sector.