Local lottery is just the ticket for West Norfolk councillors

A new online lottery will be lauched by the council
A new online lottery will be lauched by the council

Councillors have got the ball rolling on proposals for a local lottery, after they approved it in principle.

West Norfolk Council’s environment and community panel discussed the idea at a meeting on Wednesday, but asked for further details before giving it full approval.

If the lottery is given the green light, then it will hope to raise some much-needed funds for good causes.

Council leader Brian Long said: “As a council we are finding it harder and harder to support causes we have supported over a large number of years.

“Small organisations currently have to jump through hoops to get national lottery funding. This scheme can look to replace some of that funding, meaning that they won’t need to jump through hoops.”

Council accountant Robert Street told the committee that, at current, a lottery ticket would cost £1 and a draw would be held every Saturday evening.

The lottery would be web-based, with those taking part either choosing to support a specific charity or the central fund which would cover a number of causes.

The committee was told that 17 other local authorities in the country currently run a similar scheme, which have seen positive results.

But a number of committee members had doubts about some aspects of the lottery.

Thomas Smith was one such person who had concerns: “I am very anti-gambling, it’s horribly addictive. What safeguards are there to stop children gambling?”

Mr Street said as tickets have to be paid for using debit or credit card, that that was a way to stop children getting involved.

At current, the proposals suggest that 60 per cent of the £1 ticket price would go to the good causes, 20 per cent towards prizes, 17 per cent to an external lottery manager, and three per cent for VAT.

Jim Moriarty said: “From my perspective, there is no knowledge of what goes on with the money – nothing about security. We know nothing about the external lottery management company.”

The committee voted to agree with the scheme in principle, but said they wanted options to be investigated for its management and further information to be brought back to the panel at a later date.

Mr Street said that the lottery could generate between £5,000 and £15,000 a year for good causes, and would take about six months to be set up if and when the proposals are approved.