Rules for lotteries by text unveiled

Under new rules to be brought in from 1 October, society lotteries will have to block anyone under 16 and provide clear information on how winnings are calculated

People can enter lotteries by text from October
People can enter lotteries by text from October

Society lotteries will be required to block anyone under 16 from entering and provide clear information about how winnings are calculated under new rules that will allow people to take part in lotteries by text.

The Phone-paid Services Authority, which regulates payments taken by text message, has published a list of special conditions for accepting society lottery entries by text, which will come into force on 1 October.

The measures come after the introduction of a new category of VAT-exempt short phone number for society lotteries, which means that people wishing to enter lotteries by text can send their entries to a number beginning 72.

The PSA ran a consultation in March and April this year on which rules should apply to the new system, receiving 10 responses from organisations including Oxfam, the Institute of Fundraising and the Lotteries Council.

Under the new rules, organisations running society lotteries will have to take steps to ensure no one under 16 can enter the lottery, and block anyone who is found to be under-age.

They will also have to provide clear information on how winnings are calculated and how to claim them, who will benefit from the lottery and access to information about responsible gambling.

They will also have to obtain clear consent each time a payment is taken and provide a receipt.

Joanne Prowse, chief executive of the PSA, said: "We understand that phone-paid service providers, charities and societies are ready to start operating society lotteries to take advantage of the opportunities that phone payment presents. 

"The new special conditions should help to build consumer confidence in this emerging service type, providing clarity to both consumers and the organisations offering the service, and enabling participation in competitions that help good causes.

"We look forward to working with providers of society lotteries, many of whom will be from the charity sector, and helping them to do so in a compliant manner that will help build consumer trust."

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