Middlesbrough Council proposes lottery to fund cultural events

Mieka Smiles Image copyright Middlesbrough Council
Image caption Councillor Mieka Smiles said a lottery would raise vital funds for cultural events

A council is proposing to launch a lottery with a £25,000 jackpot to fund cultural activities and events.

Middlesbrough Council said 60% of the money raised through the lottery would contribute to a shortfall caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Anticipating fears of promoting problem gambling, the council said community lotteries were deemed "low risk" by the Gambling Commission.

Set-up would cost £10,500 but there is no forecast for how much it could make.

The lottery would be licensed by the Gambling Commission and run by Gatherwell, a firm that handles 65 local authority lotteries and which would be paid 17% of the ticket fee.

To prevent problem gambling, the council said it would limit sales of the £1 tickets to 20 per person.

'Bit of fun'

If approved by council leaders on 14 July, the lottery could be running before the end of the year, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The chances of winning the jackpot would be one million to one but there will also be £1,000, £250 and £25 prizes available with a 50-to-one chance of winning.

Mieka Smiles, executive member for culture and communities, said cultural events "drew footfall" to town centres and needed support.

She added: "Finding money for a robust events programme can be tough - and my idea for a lottery could help to add to our spending power and support the cultural sector's recovery after Covid.

"We'll keep residents updated on progress with the lottery - and I hope that it will be seen as a way to invest in our town whilst having a bit of fun."

A spokeswoman for the Gambling Commission said: ""Lotteries are considered to be low risk products. However, we know that some society lottery players may be problem or at-risk gamblers.

"We expect operators to act in line with our social responsibility requirements to protect consumers from harm."

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