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Lottery firms plead for suspension of Parliamentary approval

The Lotto Betting Group is calling for Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), to suspend a parliamentary process related to EuroMillions betting.

The four companies who make up this opposition, World Lottery Club, Lottoland, Jackpot.com and Multilotto, currently exploit a loophole allowing punters to make cut price wagers on the EuroMillions draw.

Launched in 2004, the EuroMillions now features nine participating nations, and although each country’s game relates back to a single draw, the games are technically separate.

The result of which is gambling operators being able to offer a bet on the outcome of EuroMillions draws abroad.

After announcing a consultation process in March, the DCMS published its response in November, in which it stated “In March 2017, Government published a consultation on a proposal to close the regulatory loophole which allows betting on non-UK EuroMillions.

“The responses that we received indicate broad support for this proposal, noting the importance of National Lottery funding to good causes across the UK, and the anomalous position of non-UK EuroMillions in the law.

“We intend to introduce a new licence condition to prohibit consumers in Great Britain from placing bets on EuroMillions games which take place outside the UK. This will ensure that these draws receive the same level of protection in relation to funds for good causes raised by The National Lottery as is the case for UK EuroMillions draws.”

In response The Lotto Group argues that “no econometric evidence to support the claim that betting on non-UK Euromillions draws is having any statistically significant impact on UK EuroMillions tickets sales.”

In its letter to the DCMS the group outlines two key points in which it challenged the decision of the Secretary of State:

  • “That the condition prohibiting betting on non-UK EuroMillions comprised by regulation 4 of the proposed 2018 Regulations amounts to a “restriction” for the purposes of Article 56 on the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”), and is contrary to that Article.
  • “The decision was irrational, in that is was unreasonable for the Secretary of State to impose a licence condition prohibiting betting on EuroMillions draws.”

Adding:  “The Lotto Betting Group believes that the decision to prohibit betting on non-UK EuroMillions draws was unjustified and was based on inconclusive evidence.

“This belief has been supported by the recent publication of the National Audit Office report, which confirms that the fall in National Lottery income for good causes in 2016-17 was due to a move away from National Lottery draw based games to Instant games and not as a result of lottery betting. Instant games have a lower return to good causes, which led to the decline.”

Should the legislative process proceed, this restriction will be made, by way of a Statutory Instrument, on April 6 of this year.

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