Troubled charity lottery closes

The online charity lottery Play Monday has been axed by its operator, the gaming company NetPlay TV.

It posted the news on its website, ending hopes of future income for 35 charity partners, including Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Born Free Foundation.

A statement on the NetPlay site from Greg Scott, host of BigBoxBingo, said: “Play Monday Superdraw in its current format will cease.

“While this is sad, we must celebrate the good work that’s been achieved, not least the £2m-plus that’s been generated for charity. For this, the charities and we say ‘thank you’.”

Clive Mollett, chairman of the Lotteries Council, said Play Monday had failed because of the difficulty of recruiting players. “It’s a lesson for charities to do their homework,” he said.

“Some of the charities involved had to take out a Gambling Commission licence to take part and at least one paid £5,000 for that licence – so it is possible some of them would have lost out financially.”

Monday was intended to raise unrestricted funds for 70 charity partners when it launched in April 2006 under founding company Chariot.

Despite an £8m advertising campaign, it failed to take off. It was taken over by Netplay TV for £140,500 at the start of this year, when the number of charity partners was cut to 35.

Mollett said: “Play Monday began with great expectations for the 70 participating charities. Now it appears to have failed to live up to its financial promises for the remaining 35.

“The heavy and time-consuming demands on the operator to encourage people back to play week on week was cumbersome for them and unpredictable for the charities. Charities need reliability in these difficult times.

“It’s not unusual for charities to turn to this type of fundraising in the hope of a new and reliable income stream. But success, and therefore income, depends on the time and resources allotted for recruitment of players. It’s a lesson for charities to do their homework.”

No one from NetPlay TV was available to comment further on the closure.

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