Media group launches commercial lottery


Health Lottery chief executive Martin Hall: "If we're giving more in prizes, there is less to give away"

A new commercial lottery says it aims to raise £50m a year for health causes across Britain.

The Health Lottery, run by the Northern & Shell media company which owns Express newspapers and Channel 5, will offer a top prize of up to £100,000.

It will donate 20.34p per £1 ticket to charity, compared with 28p for every National Lottery ticket.

The charitable donation has been described as a "pretty disgraceful development" by a charity chief.

Health Lottery chief executive Martin Hall said the game would ultimately pay out a greater proportion of income in prizes than the National Lottery does, with 57p on every ticket being returned in prizes.

But Sir Stephen Bubb, of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, said Northern & Shell owner Richard Desmond was "profiteering on the back of charities".

"The National Lottery gives 28p, if he cares about health charities he should match that figure or he should close it down," he told the BBC.

"I suspect this is more about making profits for this new venture than it is to give money to health charities."

He said ticket sales for the National Lottery would fall and charities generally would get less money if Mr Desmond's new lottery competed with it.

'Real impacts'

The Health Lottery has been set up to oversee 51 society lotteries, each representing a different area in England, Wales and Scotland.

As a society lottery, the draws will be exempt from the 12p in duty paid on each pound of National Lottery sales.

The Health Lottery expects that £50m will be donated to health-related causes, based on projected annual ticket sales of £250m.

That compares to the £270m the National Lottery is said to have given health-related charities last year out of total donations of £1.6bn and overall sales of £5.8bn.

Donations from the Health Lottery could include money to cover respite care and counselling for young carers, and specialist nurses for conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, but the aim is not to subsidise or finance NHS projects, organisers said.

The money raised by the Health Lottery will be distributed by the People's Health Trust.

John Hume, chief executive of the People's Health Trust, said: "We will be working directly with communities to identify practical and sustainable ways in which funding from the Health Lottery can have real impacts on health and well-being in communities experiencing significant disadvantages."

Tickets will go on sale on Thursday, backed by a £20m publicity campaign. The draw will be presented by Eamonn Holmes and shown in adverts on Saturday evenings on ITV 1 and Channel 5.

Any player selecting five matching numbers from 50 will win £100,000. Four matching numbers wins £500, while three will collect £50.

More than 40,000 retailers have signed up to sell tickets, which is believed to be about 12,000 more than the National Lottery has.

Northern & Shell is understood to have already spent about £30m in set-up costs.

The company has not disclosed how much profit it eventually envisages to make from the Health Lottery.

Camelot, which runs the National Lottery under licence, is allowed to make a 0.5% profit on each ticket sold.


More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    A nice thought, but human nature will prevail and those with little enough money in their pockets will be given another remote chance to become rich, and thereby end up even poorer.

    What this can do to their mental health, heaven knows. It would have been much better to devote time and energy into educating people about their health, and how to look after what little money they have now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    If you don't agree with this lottery then don't play. I play the lottery because I can afford it, it is fun, and hey, someone's got to win. It hasn't reduced the amount I give to charities as moaners predicted it would when it started. This lottery is giving money to health charities they wouldn't otherwise be getting, 20% or 28%, what exactly is the down side?

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    its seems very simple to me. If this is really to help good causes it should be non-profit making. After costs and prizes , every penny should go to the causes it supports. 50% of ticket price to charity - OK : 20% not really !!!
    It strikes me it is another way of making a rich man richer whilst appearing to be altruistic?

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    So many people are missing the point. You have a choice to play this lottery, it's not to prop up the NHS, it's for other health related charities. If you feel so strongly about this lottery or indeed the National Lottery, simply don't play them. Surely you only play lotteries with the hope of winning! If you want 100% of your money to go charity, then go ahead - donate it direct!

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Sounds like a decent idea - an extra sum of money that health charities get that isn't classed as tax, meaning ordinary folk feel as though they're getting something for their donation to the cause. Forget the fact it's Richard Desmond: surely the ends justifies the means.


Comments 5 of 8


More UK stories


Features & Analysis

  • Signposts showing the US and UK flagsAn ocean apart

    How British misunderstanding of the US is growing

  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?

  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back

  • A cow wearing sunglasses overlaid with the phrase 'Can't touch this'Cow row

    Thousands rally against the ban on beef in India

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • StudentsBull market

    Employers are snapping up students with this desirable degree


  • Former al-Qaeda double agent Aimen DeanHARDtalk Watch

    Islamic State is about revenge says former al-Qaeda member turned spy Aimen Dean

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.