Camelot’s application for a judicial review of the Health Lottery has been dismissed by the High Court.
The National Lottery operator had applied for a judicial review of the Gambling Commission’s decision to award licences to the 51 society lotteries that operate under the Health Lottery. It believed that it is a national lottery in all but name, going against the National Lottery Act of 1993 which allows for just one.
The application was dismissed by the High Court on the grounds that it believed the question of whether multiple society lotteries should be allowed should be answered by the government or Parliament.
Camelot Group chief executive officer Dianne Thompson expressed disappointment with the decision but said the case highlighted the need for urgent government action to close the loophole in the Gambling Act. “It is now imperative that the government acts to close this loophole and to ensure that the law mirrors the intention and will of Parliament that there should be only one National Lottery.”
In a statement, the Health Lottery praised the decision: “This judgment from the High Court is a powerful victory for the 51 Society Lotteries that have already raised around £23 million for local good causes through The Health Lottery. The judgment is also a triumph for the Society Lottery sector as a whole. Last year, Society Lotteries raised £168 million for good causes and The Health Lottery looks forward to helping grow that figure even more.”
Camelot intends to lodge papers with the Court of Appeal against what it believes to be “a legally-flawed and unfair decision by the court”.
She added that this could leave the door open for other operators to enter the market which may affect the amount of money received by charities. “Time is of the essence – the longer the period of political inaction, the more incentive there is for other commercial operators to establish similar mass-market lotteries that would effectively cannibalise National Lottery sales and returns to the good causes,” said Thompson.
In its remit as National Lottery operator, Camelot distributes 28p for every £1 received in sales to good causes plus 12p towards lottery duty. The Health Lottery gives 20p for every pound to health-related charities but as it is operating as a society lottery, it is not subject to duty.