Stroud District Council is pressing ahead with plans to launch a District Lottery.

The council's strategy and resources committee voted to introduce a lottery in October 2019, despite some councillors stating they were against gambling.

Initially it was expected to start in Spring 2020 but the council is now working towards a launch later this year.

More than 60 active lotteries are being run by local authorities in order to fund good causes, although concerns have been raised they could provide a 'gateway to gambling'.

The Gambling Commission classes lotteries as 'low risk products', which Dr Mark Griffiths, professor of behavioural addiction at Nottingham Trent University supports, as they are not accessible “again and again” like slot machines.

“It’s not to say people cannot have problems,” he said. “For example, you can decide you want to spend £50 a week on tickets - which could be indicative of a problem for an individual, depending on their disposable income.”

Mr Griffiths added that any council who set up a lottery also had a “duty of care” to players in order to protect them from getting hooked, such as referring them to support services if needed.

Chris Hill, from Sidcup, London, who previously recovered from a gambling addiction, said councils should be 'more responsible' in their fundraising and look elsewhere to raise cash.

“They should be looking at the long term effects of this and whether this is a gateway to further gambling.

The 47-year-old, who now runs support services for those battling addictions, said although lotteries were more likely to add to a person’s existing gambling issues, rather than cause them, they could encourage people to try other methods, such as scratchcards.

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He added: “If there’s even a one percent risk [lotteries] are going to cause pain and someone might pick up a gambling addiction, should they be doing it?”

A report to the council's strategy and resources committee stated: "Research undertaken has shown no evidence of links between local authority lotteries and problem gambling."

Ben Speare, managing director of Gatherwell who will be running the lottery on behalf of the council, confirmed staff monitored the number of tickets held by each player and would contact those with more than 20, to check up on them.

A council spokesperson added: "There are safeguards in place to ensure people are supporting the community in a safe and able manner, the lottery operator monitors ticket purchases and contacts those that meet the criteria for checks, offering them further advice and ultimately if needed, taking them through a self exclusion process."

How the lottery will work

  • Players will pay £1 online each week and select a line of six numbers.
  • There is a jackpot of £25,000 at a million to one odds, with smaller cash prizes and free lottery tickets also on offer.
  • Upon buying a ticket the player can choose to nominate a good cause from those organisations who are signed up to the District Lottery. That organisation will then receive 50p of the £1 ticket price.
  • If the player declines to nominate a good cause their 50p will go the council's Community Grants pot.
  • A further 10p from every ticket sold goes to the council to fund marketing promotions and bolt on prizes such as additional cash sums and electronic items.