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MP calls for fast government action on society lottery regulation changes

MP calls for fast government action on society lottery regulation changes

The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP has called on ministers to bring forward changes to the regulation of society lotteries in order to allow them to raise more money to support their work.

At present, lotteries which support a specific good cause are limited in the amount of money they can raise each year to £10 million.  To raise more money, charities and organisations have to take out a separate license that can involve spending six figure sums.

Ms Patel was joined in the Grimond Room of the Houses of Parliament by Essex and Herts Air Ambulance and the Local Hospice Lottery.  According to Nicole Wastell of Essex and Herts Air Ambulance, running the service cost £6.5 million a year with its lottery support vital to raising this sum.  However, with over 96,000 players, if the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance lottery continued to grow to support local people, it would soon breach the £10 million annual turnover limit imposed by present regulation.

Gary Hawkes from the Local Hospice Lottery also voiced concerns about having to take out an extra license, saying that the one-off cost of taking out an additional license would be in the region of £100,000 with the annual cost of operating it an estimated £275,000.  This additional cost amounts to 25 days running cost for a hospice and would be entirely at the expense of patient care, he said.

Calling on ministers to relax the rules on charity lotteries, Ms Patel said:

“Time is of the essence, charities providing important public services rely on the funds from their lotteries to continue to do good work.  Charities and organisations work really hard to raise this money, we cannot allow out-dated law to get in their way and have money raised from the public paying for the bureaucratic requirements of an additional license instead of the valuable work of patient and public care.”

Last month, Lotteries Council chair Jo Bucci also called for change to be speeded up, while the Council, the Institute of Fundraising and the Hospice Lotteries Association wrote a joint letter to ministers on the subject. Three years has now elapsed since an all-party report of the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee backed raising the fundraising limits imposed on charity lotteries and calling on the Government to speed up its process to reform the law in this area. 

Main image: Rt Hon Priti Patel MP. Picture: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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