Councillors to vote on scrapping Basildon lottery over gambling concerns

A community lottery which supports more than 30 good causes could be scrapped over fears it can contribute to gambling addiction.

Basildon councillors will vote next week on whether to terminate an agreement with Gatherwell Ltd because of concerns over how gambling contributes to hardship in the borough.

But local campaigners say discontinuing the Basildon Borough Community Lottery would be a blow for the charities that it financially supports.

According to council documents, the lottery has raised more than £20,000 for local charities since the first draw was held in December 2019.

A section reads: “The Lottery and Gatherwell have policies and structures in place to protect players and those most vulnerable, in line with regulations and best practice.

“Additional guidance and support is provided by GambleAware, an independent charity.

“However, despite community lotteries being classified as ‘low risk’ by the Gambling Commission, it still constitutes a form of gambling and could exacerbate problem gambling that can contribute to addiction and financial hardship within the community.”

If the lottery is scrapped, good causes will be signposting to alternative funding schemes where appropriate, the documents added.

One good cause supported by the lottery is Team Avery Essex, which promotes Autism awareness in the county.

Founder Aston Avery said the funding supported many of the charity’s activities, including the Pamper Project, which offers the choice of a luxury spa day in Rayleigh or a hamper of treats to those who have “gone the extra mile” for the community.

He said: “It would be a blow, as they say, because obviously the funding might have to be self-funded, we might have to pay our own funds just to try and get the items needed for it.”

The lottery funding also allows Team Avery Essex to speak and provide training in local schools.

There are 31 good causes signed up as beneficiaries of the lottery, with 7 more pending approval or in the application stage, according to the documents.

The lottery is drawn every Saturday and tickets cost £1 each.

Of each ticket, 60p is distributed to good causes, 20p is allocated to a prize fund and 20p goes towards covering administrative costs.

The Mayor’s Charity Appeal Trust receives money from the lottery and is currently the nominated ‘Community Pot’ good cause.

The lottery is licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission.

The Policy Executive Committee will meet on Thursday December 9 to vote on discontinuing the lottery.

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Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter