Council set to take on Camelot with Vale Lottery

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Aylesbury Vale District Council could become the first local authority in the country to launch its own online lottery to benefit good causes – with a top prize of £20,000.

Councillors will decide next week whether to give the go-ahead to an weekly draw which would work in a similar way to the National Lottery, however all funds raised will be spent in the district.

The AVDC scheme will mean 58p in every pound would go to good causes, compared to just 28p in the pound with the Camelot-run national draw.

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Tickets would cost £1 a week (payable by direct debit or payment card) and there would be a pay out of a £20,000 jackpot, as well as a number of smaller prizes. The proposed lottery would be run in partnership with an external lotteries provider, with AVDC not taking any of the proceeds.

The model being proposed would enable community groups to set up their own lottery under the AVDC online system. Players who don’t support a particular community group would also be able to take part to help general good causes, which don’t have a strong support base but are in the Vale to serve residents.

Introducing the lottery would enable the council to continue giving out community grants at a time of major cutbacks, it says.

Councillor Angela Macpherson, cabinet member for leisure, communities and civic amenities, said: “There are so many good causes out there needing support and this is a great way for residents to help those close to their heart and on their doorstep, and they might even win themselves a prize. This is about us as a council putting something in place which will give local projects the means to raise funds.”

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The proposal will be discussed by cabinet on September 1 and full council on September 9. If the scheme is approved, the first draw could take place as early as mid-November.

According to council papers, players would pick six numbers. To win the jackpot the ticket must ‘match both the numbers and sequence as drawn’. The odds of winning the £20,000 top prize (which is guaranteed, even if multiple players scoop the jackpot in a single week) are one in a million.

Other prizes are available such as £10 for matching three numbers (a one in 556 chance) and three free tickets for matching two numbers (a one in 56 chance). The overall chance of winning any prize is one in 50, compared to one in 13 for Euromillions, one in 54 for the National Lottery and one in 209 for the Health Lottery.

If 0.5% of the Vale’s population (721 people) bought one Vale Lottery ticket for a year it would raise £21,746 for good causes. But if 2.5% (3,605 people) played, it would raise a £108,726.

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The council says that the lottery is considered ‘low risk’ with respect to problem gambling and its website will contain links to support organisations: “Due to these factors it is reasonable to believe that the Vale Lottery will not significantly increase problem gambling, and that the benefits to good causes in the Vale from the proceeds of the lottery outweigh the possible negative issues.”

Organisations which promote a ‘particular religious or political belief’, do not work within the boundaries of Aylesbury Vale or aim to distribute a profit will not be allowed to recieve money from the lottery.

The council would need to apply to the Gambling Commission for permission to operate the lottery.

Councillor Janet Blake, cabinet member for business transformation, said: “If we can get an agreement in principle to this we would be the first council in the country to run a lottery in this form. It would put AVDC on the map as a cutting edge local authority.”