Society lotteries raise £208million for good causes

05 January 2017

Society lottery revenue given to good causes has more than doubled since 2009/10.

Society lotteries have raised a record-breaking £208m for good causes in the last financial year. It is believed that figure could soar even higher with proposed changes to government legislation.

Britain’s 492 lottery operators and 38 external lottery managers generated a record £208million for good causes in 2015/16 financial year. This was a £20 million increase in comparison to the previous financial year (2014/15). The figures were drawn from the Gambling Commission’s Industry Statistics Report, which is published on a biannual basis.

The average percentage of total revenues contributed to good causes by society lotteries was 43.3% for 2015/16. In terms of operational expenses as a proportion of total revenues, the society lottery sector achieved a 1.7% decrease from 2014/15 to 2015/16. This highlights on-going efforts by the sector to reduce overheads and maximise returns to good causes.

Society lottery revenue given to good causes has more than doubled since 2009/10, when £100.6m was raised. However, the Lotteries Council believes that changes to existing legislation will help society lotteries generate even more income for good causes.

Society lotteries include a broad spectrum of organisations, from small scale hospice lotteries to larger, nationally promoted and advertised, external lottery managers. Their common trait is the ability to generate crucial funds for causes that are often marginalised and hard to fund raise for.

Welcoming the announcement, David McCullough, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service, said:

“To date, Royal Voluntary Service has received over £5million in support from society lotteries. This has been a combination of both project specific and core funding, which makes an incredible contribution to our organisation.

“The funding has supported services like Good Neighbours in Bradford where our volunteers provide practical and emotional support to older people in their homes, as well as helping them to get out and about. Three quarters of the older people we support in Bradford say they feel less isolated as result of our service, and a further 75 per cent feel that they are more active in their communities and more able to participate in community life.

“The support from society lotteries ensures we can provide an increasing range of crucial services like this one to older people and their families across Britain. It would be incredible to see society lotteries being able to raise more and contribute further to good causes during these difficult times.”

Jo Bucci, the newly-elected Chair of the Lotteries Council, said:

“It’s testament to the drive and dedication of our members that the society lottery sector continues to deliver ever increasing returns to good causes.

“However, continued success and growth in the sector is by no means guaranteed. The Lotteries Council has been working hard over the last five years to secure progressive changes to the regulations governing the operations of society lotteries.

“Specifically, our members want to see increased fundraising and prize limits and shifting the requirement of meeting the 20% minimum contribution over an extended period for new lotteries entering the market. These measures will help grow the sector and ensure the maximum amount possible is being raised for good causes.

“The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is currently reviewing these proposals and we look forward to the outcome of this process.”

Research led by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) highlights that The Lotteries Council's proposed measures would better support society lotteries in their efforts to deliver increasing returns to good causes.


To learn about projects we fund using money raised by 51 society lotteries through The Health Lottery, click here.

To learn more about The Lotteries Council, click here.

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