The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has reservations about the deregulation of society lotteries and would instead encourage lotteries to publish figures showing how their income is spent, according to Karl Wilding, its director of public policy.
Wilding was giving evidence in parliament yesterday to the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee as part of its inquiry into society lotteries.
Wilding told MPs that the NCVO would probably not want the law on society lotteries to change, but the umbrella body did want the Lotteries Council or the Gambling Commission to publish information on the proportion of ticket sales that went to good causes and that spent on prizes and other expenses.
Speaking about the 80:20 rule, which requires society lotteries to give at least 20 per cent of their income from ticket sales to good causes, Wilding said: "The best way of deciding how much should go to good causes is to let the public decide. Ideally, we would like to see a norm that is higher than 20 per cent, but I’m not sure that regulation as a tool is the best way of achieving that. We would like the lotteries to publish their statistics."
He said that some of the NCVO’s members believed that lotteries were a form of gambling and it would be unwise to further deregulate them for this reason. "We don’t have a view on that specifically, but if their views are mirrored by a wider section of the public, we just would want to make sure that any deregulatory activity doesn’t harm public trust and confidence," he said.
Wilding said the NCVO was apprehensive about making substantive changes to caps or prize limits, because "one person’s red tape is another person’s safety net".
The Institute of Fundraising has been pushing for the annual income cap on the lotteries to be raised from £10m to £100m, and for an increase in the prize values they can offer from £25,000 to £100,000.