Gambling Commission warns vendors not to bet on house raffles

The Gambling Commission has issued warnings to home owners amid the renewed trend of house raffles.

The regulator is warning that there are instances where organisers are breaking the law as their scheme has been set up in a way that means it is an illegal lottery.

Unlike a raffle or lottery, which is regulated by the Gambling Commission, the outcome of a genuine prize competition must depend on the exercise of skill, knowledge or judgment by the participant. Lotteries can only be run to raise money for charity.

Last week EYE reported that the owner of Melling Manor, in Lancashire, sold his home after raising nearly £900,000 from the sale of some 440,000 tickets at £2 each. It had initially been listed with agents who failed to sell it.

In May, a home owner who hoped to raise £3.75m by raffling her property was told by Greenwich Council to halt the raffle as it could be in breach of Gambling Commission rules.

Cliff Young, the Gambling Commission’s lotteries expert, warns that sellers must seek expert legal advice before proceeding with a raffle of their home to ensure it doesn’t blur the lines between a competition, which doesn’t come under regulations, and a lottery, which is a form of gambling and would be illegal.

He said: “Pay-to-enter raffles, draws and competitions, where a person’s home is the prize, are becoming an increasingly popular alternative for eager home owners that are either struggling to sell their property through traditional means or looking to do something a bit innovative.

“Raffles, or lotteries as they are called in gambling law, are where you pay to enter and the result is purely based on chance – like a tombola or draw – and there is a prize. Under gambling laws, lotteries are a form of gambling and there are rules about how they can be run and who can run them.

“The Gambling Commission regulates all gambling in Great Britain including lotteries, and in some circumstances you may need a licence from us or a registration with your local authority before you can promote a lottery. Other small lotteries, such as those promoted at fundraising events, can operate without specific permission but they are still subject to some basic rules.”

He said lotteries can only be run for good causes, while free draws or prize competitions are not caught as gambling under gambling laws.

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2 Comments

  1. JPD21

    House raffles are not something new, They, like 3D movies, come round every few years

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  2. WatchOut42

    We entered the Win Your Dream Home raffle for Dullatur House in Scotland. Thought why not only £5 an entry and one free go by post. On their website they clearly state on the payment page and also on the receipts section they would notify you within 48 hours they have received your payment and your entry had gone through. This would also allow you to receive their weekly news letter regarding the raffle. We had correctly filled out their application form on the website and answered the simple question correctly.

    After one week we still had not received any notification our entry had gone through. Checked bank and payment had been received. Contacted the Win Your Dream Home promoter Shamus Fitzsimons and he said we would hear from him within a few days to confirm our entry. That few days has been and gone and we have heard nothing. So much for Shamus Fitzsimons word. We then checked over their Terms & Conditions which is only listed under (Terms) and their Terms & Conditions state : The Promoters will not be liable for any loss suffered by an Entrant as a result of incomplete entries or failed computer communications or for any loss suffered as a result of use of the Website. Also : The Promoters do not accept responsibility for entries which they do not receive due to failures in computer systems, other malfunctions, high Internet traffic, hardware failure, software failure, server faults or any other reason. Astonishingly these Terms & Conditions sound more like a license to allow a person to cheat without any come backs. These terms & conditions in theory could eliminate most, if not all entries from the competition for any reason. To me, it sounds more like a Get Out Of Jail Free Card if you got caught cheating. Read the terms & conditions yourself and draw your own conclusion. I’m guessing my application has been eliminated due to a so called malfunction or error on their system .

    We have also found out PayPal pulled the plug on this raffle last week. I would have thought once PayPal had seen those terms & conditions that alone would have been enough to make them pull the plug on this raffle.

    I believe the Win Your Dream Home website gives false and misleading information. Also I contacted the promoter Shamus Fitzsimons and he made a promise he didn’t keep. I also believe the way in which the terms & conditions are written could potentially make this entire raffle a Legalised Scam so it could easily be manipulated. These Win A House Competitions definitely need regulating with laws in place that would only allow an accredited body/organisation to run these competitions for the property owners at a fair, fix fee that’s capped. Not to do so will be an open invitation for all sorts of unsavoury characters to jump on the bandwagon. I’m all up for winning a house for £5 but these competitions definitely need regulating and soon.

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