The Health Lottery has agreed a new partnership with online and land-based betting operator Gala Coral to launch a new game offering a jackpot of £1 million ($1.59 million/€1.19 million).
According to the Civilsociety.co.uk website, the partnership will allow the Health Lottery to bypass society lottery rules that restrict prize pots to £25,000 or 10% of gross ticket sales. Betting operators are not governed by such restrictions.
The new arrangement will allow players of Health Lottery Plus to place a bet in Coral shops or its website for as little as £1.
Players can bet on the Health Lottery’s five numbers, as well as an addition Million Pound Number for a chance to win the jackpot.
“This is going to go down a storm,” Coral’s director of communications, Simon Clare, said. “It will only be a matter of time before we are celebrating our first Coral Health Lottery Plus millionaire for just a £1 bet.”
Despite the new partnership, the Gambling Commission has been in touch with Coral with its concerns about the game.
The UK gambling regulator said the new game is against the spirit of charity lotteries because players may think they are contributing more to good causes, but are in fact handing money to a private bookmaker.
A Gambling Commission spokesman said that offering betting on the outcome of a lottery is legal, except for the UK state lottery the National Lottery, but it must be made clear to players the game is a bet and not a lottery.
In response, Coral said in a statement it will contribute an undisclosed share of the gross revenues to good causes.
A Health Lottery spokeswoman said the good cause contribution stands at 20% of all sales revenue – the same as the actual Health Lottery.
She also said that Health Lottery Plus is Coral’s licensed product and a betting game that is “very clearly a bet on the outcome of the Health Lottery draw rather than a ticket for the draw itself”.
She added, “As the Gambling Commission itself makes clear, offering betting on the outcome of a lottery is legal, and we will continue to work with them as we always do.
“The Health Lottery continues to fully comply with all society lottery obligations and to suggest otherwise is simply incorrect. The Health Lottery Plus is a product offered by Coral and is not a society lottery product.
“The Health Lottery Plus is a well-established model under which a betting operator offers bets on the outcome of an event, in this case the numbers drawn by the Health Lottery. The launch of Health Lottery Plus means that even more money will be raised for good causes.”