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Government wins lottery betting case

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Government wins lottery betting case 22nd November 2018

The High Court has turned down an appeal to the Government’s decision to ban the right of operators to offer bets on the outcome of EuroMillions draws taking place in other jurisdictions.

“Under Section 95 of the Gambling Act 2005 betting on the outcome of the UK National Lottery (including the UK EuroMillions as it is directly connected to the UK National Lottery) is prohibited.

At the moment a number of companies offer bets on the outcome of EuroMillions draws that take place in other jurisdictions, for example the Spanish EuroMillions draw.  These draws are perceived to be technically separate to the UK National Lottery and UK EuroMillions and as such companies have been able to take bets on the outcome of these draws.

In November 2017 the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport reported that following consultation, the Government would be taking action to prohibit betting on non-UK EuroMillions lotteries by introducing a new licence condition saying that it would “…protect against future losses to good cause returns.”

Regulation 4 was inserted into the Gambling Act 2005 (Operating Licence Conditions) Regulations 2007 which came into force in April 2018. This regulation prevents holders of betting operating licences from offering bets on the outcome of non – UK EuroMillions draws and closes the previous loophole that operators had been relying upon.

A judicial review was sought by EU Lotto Ltd, Lottoland Europe Ltd and Multi Lotto UK Ltd in respect of the Secretary of State’s decision and included challenges against both the fairness of the original consultation and whether the Regulations impose an unlawful restriction on the freedom of businesses to provide services under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The High Court, ruling in favour of the Government said: “…the Secretary of State was well within his margin of discretion in deciding to choose an outright prohibition…” and the Court also rejected the Claimant’s argument that the consultation was unfair.

Source: Poppleston Allen

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