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08.10.2018

Icon Advocates for More Transparent Frameworks for Society Lotteries

Icon recently responded to the government’s consultation on Society Lottery Reform.

Society lotteries enable charities and other societies to run lotteries for good causes. The government's preferred reform options would allow a tenfold increase in the amount that a large society lottery can raise per year, bringing the annual limit to £100m. The per draw sales limit would also rise to £5m and the maximum prize to £500,000.

Icon recognises the vital role that society lotteries play in raising funds for good causes. However, Icon’s response to the consultation argued that society lotteries should not be reformed at the expense of The National Lottery’s contribution. The Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) distribution of National Lottery funds has had a transformative impact on the heritage sector, which is increasingly dependent on this income in an overall reduced funding environment for culture.

To protect funding for heritage, Icon urged for the impact of any potential reforms on the National Lottery to be researched, monitored and assessed. Increases in sales limits and prize sizes could allow society lotteries to be more directly in competition with The National Lottery, which could lead to lower revenues and less money for good causes. The National Lottery and society lotteries must operate in complementary but distinct markets to maximise their returns, Icon asserted.

Society lotteries should also be required to have more transparent, regulated and accountable frameworks for distributing funds. Icon’s response referred to the HLF’s transparent grant-making process, wide-ranging support for applicants and rigorous framework for accountability. Icon called for any potential deregulation to be accompanied by similar accountable and open procedures for society lotteries to ensure that a wide variety of deserving projects can benefit from funding.

Icon’s response was written in consultation with the Icon Policy Advisory Panel.

Image: Lottery ticket/advertisement, 1825 © The Trustees of the British Museum

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