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Views on lottery deregulation; unauthorised benefit for trustee; regulatory inquiries increasing

The National Lottery opposes deregulation
The National Lottery opposes deregulation

Lottery deregulation 'would create free-for-all'

Deregulation of society lotteries could create a free-for-all that might not increase the amount given to good causes, according to Andy Duncan, chief executive of Camelot, the operator of the National Lottery.

He told the inquiry into society lotteries by the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee that the creation of new society lotteries by the gambling firm Coral and the retailer Morrisons showed that society lotteries were "becoming a very attractive space" in which the National Lottery might struggle to compete.

Commenting on, Christopher Hearn said: "Deregulation would not guarantee an increase in good-cause money, but it would probably increase gambling-related social issues and lead to more money being retained by societies. The minimum level paid to good causes should be increased immediately to at least 25 per cent, because 20 per cent is ethically and morally far too low."

Concerned said: "This is a subject that has to be addressed very carefully: some of the smaller charities would struggle to give 25 per cent back to the cause. This would mean they would have to close their lotteries and, as a result, there would be no funds whatsoever going back to where they are needed."

Ex-trustee got £150k in unauthorised benefit

The former trustee of an aid charity and his family received more than £150,000 in unauthorised private benefit from the charity, the Charity Commission concluded.

The regulator's report on its statutory inquiry into the now defunct Helping Hands for the Needy said that Mohammed Ashfaq, one of its trustees, had sole control of the charity's bank account. It said there was evidence that he and his family received benefits including payments of about £134,000 to companies connected to Ashfaq and the family, £14,854 for building work on his home and £9,000 for parking and speeding fines and other costs for running his car.

The case was reported to the Metropolitan Police, who decided to take no action.

Roger commented: "You can go to prison for not paying the TV licence; but more than £150,000 is siphoned off charity funds and police decide to take no action? I can't get my head around this one."

Number of regulatory inquiries on the rise

The Charity Commission completed 60 per cent more operational compliance cases in the year to March 2014 than it did the year before, opened more than four times as many statutory inquiries and made use of certain legal powers on more than three times as many occasions, figures from the regulator showed.

Paula Sussex, chief executive of the commission, said the figures showed it was "becoming the robust, proportionate regulator the public expects".

John Weth commented: "That the commission has become a more active regulator in the past year is welcome. But additional regulatory activity will not by itself ensure effective regulation – activity and effectiveness are not synonyms. Even several years ago, when the commission was opening even more statutory inquiries than it did last year, it was still seen as ineffective. Structure, strategy, resources, greater powers and activity are not at the heart of effectiveness as a regulator - it is a strong culture of doing what is right."

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