Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill

Written evidence submitted by the Lotteries Council (DMCCB48)

Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill – Call for Evidence

About the Lotteries Council

The Lotteries Council is the industry representative body of Britain’s charity lottery operators [1] . Through prize-led fundraising, our sector currently generates over £400 million per year [2] in funding for a wide variety of charities and good causes on a not-for-profit basis.

Charity lotteries are governed by the Gambling Act (2005) and provide an entirely distinct but complementary fundraising stream to that provided for by the National Lottery.

Subscription-based Charity Lotteries

The Lotteries Council request that subscription-based charity lotteries be recognised as an excluded product as per Section 247, Schedule 19 of the Bill.

Sections 248 – 253 of the Bill introduce numerous new obligations for non-excluded subscription products related to pre-contract information, reminder notices, renewal payments and operator duties on termination of a subscription.

A number of our member lotteries rely upon a subscription model to raise funds for their chosen good causes. As presently written, we believe the Bill would negatively impact upon the charitable return of these operators.

In response to concerns being raised on this issue during Stage 2 of the Bill’s passage through parliament, we were heartened to note the Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy state that:

"…because a consumer donates regularly to a charity but does not have receipt of a good, a product or digital content in return, that will not meet the definition of a subscription contract. Therefore, those charitable donations do not need to be included in the exclusions set out in schedule 19, as they are not in scope in the first place."

The Lotteries Council was also pleased to meet recently with Stuart Andrew MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Gambling and Civil Society and DCMS civil servants who confirmed that inter-departmental discussions were taking place with a view to ensuring that an accommodation be found to ensure charity lotteries do not fall within the scope of the Bill.

Further to this, in a letter dated 26 June 2023, the Minister confirmed to us that:

"Following the second reading debate in the House of Commons on 17 May, the Department for Business and Trade has now confirmed to me that it is their intention to exclude society lotteries from the scope of the subscriptions chapter of the Bill, and are considering whether further clarification is required to the Bill to reflect this."

However, at present it remains the case that s246(1) of the Bill currently defines a subscription contract as:

" …a contract between a trader and a consumer- (a) for the supply of goods, services or digital content by the trader to a consumer in exchange for payment by the consumer …"

We therefore believe that , despite the intention of the Government for charity lotteries to fall outwith the scope of the Bill, it is the case that without an explicit exemption under
19 , subscription-based charity lotter ies do fall within scop e .

This is by virtue of the fact that charity lottery players do receive a good/service in return for their subscription in the form of a ticket to enter into the draw, from which they would also be provided with a prize should their ticket be selected as a winning entry.

Existing R egulat ory Framework

S ubscription-based charity lotteries are already subject to stringent Gambling Commission regulations around consumer protection , a number of which would duplicate or prove incompatible with provisions in the Bill.

For example, as a gambling product, lotteries are already unable to offer locked-into subscriptions for a defined period of time and must already ensure that customers are able to self-exclude whenever requested . In addition, LCCP 5.1.1 [3] says lottery operators cannot offer incentives to customers based on them playing for a pre-determined length of time.

In light of this, charity lottery customers are already able to cancel their subscriptions at a ny time of their choosing . The provisions currently within the Bill regarding the need to give consumers notification of their "cooling off" period seem likely to be confusing for consumers, in relation to lottery product s which are already unable to offer any lock in period .

Upon reviewing the Bill , it is the case that sectors exempted under Schedule 19 are those already subject to oversight by external regulators – for example energy companies, insurance companies and those providing financial services. The rationale for excluding such sectors appears to be related to the fact they are already heavily regulated, as are charity lotteries.


The Lotteries Council therefore believe that without an explicit exemption the charitable return generated by our subscription-based lottery operators is likely to be negatively impacted owing to the increased legal, regulatory and marketing costs needed to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Bill.

Given the confirmed indications that the Government do intend charity lotteries to fall outside the scope of the Bill, we believe an explicit exemption under Schedule 19 would be desirable in order to ensure clarity in law while also delivering on the Government’s intention.

July 2023


Prepared 11th July 2023