You’re fed up with retailing and want out. No takers on the ‘for sale’ front, so can you raffle off your premises? This question was posed by Khalid Khawaja and I asked in this column (C-Store, July 22) whether anyone had successfully disposed of their business in this manner. 

My only response was Fatima Patel, who rang from Manchester to say that she had already thought of this as a Good Idea and what had my research pitched up? 

Thousands of words and little clarity, is the true answer. 

I first rang the Lottery Commission which said, not us, ring the Gambling Commission. Did that and a helpful person emailed me lots of info regarding people trying to raffle off their houses. Not their businesses. There is no trail on that. 

Upshot of Gambling Commission’s advice (and the Law Society’s) is that you might fall foul of the Gambling Act 2005. If you try to sell a house using a prize competition scheme (raffle) you are free of the statutory control under the Act, but this sort of competition requires a skill or judgement or knowledge; otherwise it’s a ‘lottery’ which is hampered by shedloads of rules. 

I spoke to the head of media relations for leading business agents Christie & Co and he reported back that no one there had ever heard of this happening. A number of questions occurred to us both. How many tickets? What if you don’t sell enough? Can you call it off? What about the transfer of undertakings when you sell up? (You’ll be raffling off your staff, too.) The VAT implications? And, if you trade in Lower Wackett-in-the-Wold, how many might be interested in buying into the chance to trade there? 

The spokesman made a helpful suggestion: check out clicktopurchaseproperty.com and see if its online buying, selling (plus auction facility) could be useful. It’s a sort of ebay for trading commercial properties.

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