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The National Lottery in Jersey
By Ryan Morrison
Should the National Lottery replace the Channel Islands lottery in Jersey?
The National Lottery could be introduced in Jersey next year, according to the Assistant Minister for Economic Development Deputy Alan Maclean.
The introduction of the National Lottery to Jersey has been a topical subject ever since the UK Lottery was first introduced.
Many here have wanted to adopt the idea locally but some, including states members in Jersey and Guernsey have been concerned the National Lottery could affect the Channel Island lottery and the profits given to charity.
In 2005 the States decided that negotiations should be started with relevant UK authorities over the possible introduction of the National Lottery to the island.
Christmas a success
Even if everybody said they wanted the National Lottery to be introduced to the island, the earliest Jersey could abandon the Channel Islands Lottery and allow people to take part in the UK National Lottery would be 2009.
Ticket sales of scratch cards fell in 2007 by about 4%, but the Christmas lottery was more popular than ever and saw the biggest ever jackpot of over half a million pounds.
"The Christmas draw has continued to be a huge success," explained the deputy.
He's hopeful more than £350,000 of 2007 CI Lottery proceeds will be given to the Jersey Association of Charities.
However, he's not sure one hugely popular Channel Island draw per year is enough to support the lottery for the rest of the time.
"At the end of the day, it's the Christmas lottery that seems to make the money."
£1 million a year
It's thought around a million pounds a year could be provided to charities, sporting groups and heritage projects if Jersey joined the UK National Lottery.
Currently about £320,000 is given to the Jersey Association of Charities each year from the Channel Islands Lottery, but that may fall as ticket sales here drop.
This year there's been 25% fewer sales of Channel Island Lottery tickets.
Consultation into whether Jersey should allow the UK National Lottery to be played here has started, but it's thought the local one will cease if that happens.
Deputy Alan Maclean, from Economic Development, says it's the only issue that might stand in the way.
He explained that “there is every likelihood that if the National Lottery was to come here and we retain the Channel Islands Lottery it would probably die on the vine.
“So there is a choice, either we do that and it slowly fades away or we stop it if the National Lottery is introduced.”
Difficult to sustain
He also explained, in more detail, the background to the Channel Islands lottery and the National Lottery.
Deputy Maclean explained that “It’s very difficult for small jurisdictions with small population levels to sustain lotteries over a period of time.
"The Channel Islands lottery was originally a Jersey lottery and was extended to the Channel Islands to cover Guernsey to increase the economies of sale.
“It has certainly had a resurgence of interest over recent years as the games have changed, scratch cards brought in and ticket sales increased over the last two years.
“Unfortunately we’re beginning to see a slide in sales and in fact this year to date we’re approximately 25% down in sales over 2006 – not unexpected sadly.
He went on to tell us that “the feeling has been for some time that since the National Lottery was started in the UK in 1994 that there was some opportunity for Jersey to benefit by being a part of that by extending it.
“We’ve been in negotiations with the relevant authorities in the UK with a view to be able to achieve that as soon as possible”
The White Paper includes information on the odds of winning each of the prizes in the National and Channel Island lotteries.
You are ten times more likely to win the top prize in the CI Christmas draw than the National Lottery Jackpot.
But the odds of winning a smaller prize are better in the National Lottery than the CI draw.
Over to you
Do you think the Channel Islands lottery should be scrapped and replaced with the National Lottery instead?
Should we keep the Channel Islands lottery and retain the status quo of islanders buying lottery tickets on visits to the UK but not having it officially available?
What about having both – would the Channel Islands Lottery die off if the UK National Lottery were to be brought over or could they operate side by side?
Should only the actual lottery and not the scratch cards be brought over from the UK and keep the scratch cards under the control of the CI lottery?
What about just keeping the Channel Islands Christmas draw along with the full National Lottery - would you play both?
Do you play either the National or CI lottery? Have your say now.
last updated: 19/03/2008 at 16:36
Have Your Say
john b woodruff
tony de freitas