UK consumers will be prohibited from betting on the EuroMillions lottery draw following the conclusion of a government investigation.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DDCMS) announced on Thursday that it is to ban betting on non-UK EuroMillions through a statutory licence condition. This will bring such draws into line with the existing prohibition on betting on UK National Lottery draws.
The government announced in March that it would consult with stakeholders over a loophole that has allowed gambling websites to offer betting markets on the EuroMillions draw.
In announcing its decision, the DDCMS said: “We consider that betting on non-UK EuroMillions draws is contrary to the intention and spirit of section 95 of the Gambling Act and the established principle that operators should not be permitted to offer bets on the National Lottery.”
It added “there is a risk” that betting on EuroMillions draws could negatively affect lottery sales and “consequently National Lottery good cause returns may decrease”.
The DDCMS said: “We are mindful of the effect on impacted businesses, and will tailor the licence condition to ensure it is in line with our aims to reduce consumer confusion, and protect returns to good causes in the UK. Betting operators will still be able to offer bets on international lotteries.”
The ban was slammed by Lottoland chief executive Nigel Birrell, who claimed the government’s decision did not reflect the evidence gathered during the investigation.
“We believe that today’s decision is unjustified, and sets a dangerous precedent for policy-making on the basis of no evidence,” said Birrell.
“It will do nothing but stifle innovation in the sector.
“DDCMS itself recently stated in the FOBT consultation that any decisions on the outcome must be based on clear evidence. In today’s consultation response from the government they clearly state that the current evidence base is not conclusive.
“We believe a review period was a proportionate and a responsible way forward that would have allowed for a final decision to be made on real evidence.
“Given the significant impact to our UK business of this decision, we are reviewing all available options before determining our next steps.”
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