Camelot is disappointed by today’s judgment rejecting its claim for a judicial review of the Health Lottery, and intends to lodge papers with the Court of Appeal against what it believes to be a legally-flawed and unfair decision by the court.
Despite this, it warmly welcomes the fact that the case has clearly highlighted the need for urgent government action to close a loophole in the Gambling Act 2005, which has been used by The Health Lottery to position itself as a direct rival to The National Lottery. The judgment itself expressly states that: “the question whether multiple society lotteries should be permitted is a political question, to be determined by the government or Parliament.”
The need for such action was identified in the Gambling Commission’s own evidence to the court and included in today’s judgment. This sets out the Commission’s private correspondence with the Department for Culture, Media & Sport and makes it clear that the Commission shared Camelot’s serious concerns about the legality of The Health Lottery.
The Commission described The Health Lottery as being ‘clearly designed to circumvent the proceeds limits – the gambling equivalent of a tax avoidance scheme that exploits loopholes in the legislation’, and went on to state that ‘the Department needs to decide whether to block the loophole or allow the limits to be breached and accept the possible damage to The National Lottery’.
Dianne Thompson, Camelot Group CEO, said: “It is now imperative that the Government acts to close this loophole and to ensure that the law mirrors the intention and will of Parliament that there should be only one National Lottery.
“Time is of the essence – the longer the period of political inaction, the more incentive there is for other commercial operators to establish similar mass-market lotteries that would effectively cannibalise National Lottery sales and returns to the Good Causes.
“We are therefore calling on the government to set out immediately the process and the timetable it intends to pursue in order to discharge its ultimate responsibility for The National Lottery and the Good Causes it supports.”