A great way to simultaneously raise money for your organisation’s chosen charity and boost workplace morale may be to run a raffle, bingo or similar ‘lottery’, and the current festive period may seem like the perfect time to do so. However, you may find there are unexpected rules you have to comply with.
Running a workplace raffle or lottery
Given the current coronavirus situation and homeworking arrangements, you may be thinking of hosting such an event virtually. However, the Gambling Commission advises that online lotteries such as these, where the winning of prizes is down to luck alone, require a licence. This reflects section 300(7) of the Gambling Act 2005, which prohibits ‘remote gaming’ of this sort. A Gambling Commission licence costs thousands of pounds and therefore the cost, and time involved in applying, is likely to outweigh the benefit of holding such an event.
Even if you are planning on hosting a workplace bingo or raffle in person, there is still a risk if you extend your invitations to more than one office in your organisation. Part 2 of Schedule 11 of the Gambling Act 2005 deals with private lotteries, which include work lotteries. Paragraph 11 provides that “each person to whom a ticket is sold or supplied works on a single set of premises”. Paragraph 14 also provides that “no advertisement for a work lottery may be displayed or distributed except on the single set of premises, or sent to any other premises.” This effectively also rules out any raffle or bingo spanning multiple offices or sites.
Does this also apply to charitable fundraisers?
The above rules may seem surprising, especially in the context of charitable fundraisers and current social distancing. But sadly they seem to confine legal workplace lotteries to a single set of premises and in person.
What are the alternatives?
An alternative may be to host an online quiz. Provided the quiz requires “a significant element of skill, judgment or knowledge” to enter and win, it will be considered a ‘prize competition’, not a lottery, under sections 14 and 339. Such competitions are outside the scope of the Gambling Act and the Gambling Commission’s enforcement.
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