Lotto Betting Groups Joint Letter before claim for Judicial Review
In March 2017, the UK Government published a consultation paper on a proposal “to close the regulatory loophole which allows betting on non-UK EuroMillions”, on the basis, that in its view: “this practice runs counter to the spirit and intention of section 95 of the Gambling Act, which seeks to maintain the clear blue water between the National Lottery and commercial gambling products, thereby protecting returns to good causes”
All members of the Lotto Betting Group, listed below, responded to the consultation objecting to the proposed condition, on the grounds that there is 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. Also noted was the Government’s own impact assessment statement which stated that “there is no evidence that betting on EuroMillions draws abroad currently harms returns to good causes”
The Government’s response to the consultation exercise was published in November 2017 in a document entitled “Consultation Response: Prohibiting Third Party Betting on Non-UK EuroMillions Draws” (“Consultation Response”).
The Response confirmed that the “current evidence base is not conclusive on the future impact on lottery revenues (and therefore returns to good causes) attributable to betting on lotteries” but that in the view of the Government the imposition of a condition which prevents the holder of a betting operating licence from offering bets on National Lottery outcomes (including a UK EuroMillions draw) is justifiable on both a principled and precautionary basis, and is consistent with the existing ban on EuroMillions UK draws in section 95 of the Gambling Act”
A statement on behalf of the Lotto Betting Group
“Members of the Lotto Betting Group have sent a joint letter before claim for Judicial Review to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) relating to the proposal to implement a new licence condition (LCCP) which would make it unlawful for UK licensed betting operators to accept bets on the outcome of a Euromillions lottery. Members have asked the Government to suspend the legislative process, which would otherwise introduce this restriction by way of a Statutory Instrument on 6th April 2018.”
“The letter before claim challenges the decision of the Secretary of State on the following grounds;
- 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.
“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.”
“The letter before claim asks the Secretary of State (DCMS) to suspend the Parliamentary approval process.”
Lotto Betting Group
The Lotto Betting Group is a group of four lottery betting companies from across Europe and which are licenced by the Gambling Commission in the UK and in other European jurisdictions:
(1) Annexio Limited (“WorldLottery Club”)
(2) EU Lotto Limited (“Lottoland”)
(3) Lottomatrix Operations Limited (“Jackpot.com”)
(4) Multilotto UK Limited (“Multilotto”).