April 7, 2022, 11:23
Remote workers who participate in a “job lottery” for the Grand National could be breaking the law if certain steps are not taken.
Grand National office raffles could be illegal for employees working from home, according to gaming regulation lawyers Poppleston Allen.
The country’s biggest horse race – held at Aintree Racecourse – is popular for millions of sweepstakes each year where the shares of a bet are divided among the winners.
But, the law firm has issued a warning that the increase in remote working due to the coronavirus pandemic means people could be caught off guard.
Richard Bradley, associate attorney at Poppleston Allen, said physical tickets must be distributed and all players must be in the same office – which may not be the case if employees are working from home.
“While formal gambling activity is heavily regulated by the Gambling Commission, there is an exception designed to allow the general public to have a little fun by participating in what is officially called a professional lottery,” he said, according to the Telegraph.
“But what a lot of people might not realize is that the rules are very clear in that you can only sell physical tickets and all players have to work in the same office – organized competitions in different offices of the same company are not allowed.
“Therefore, if the pandemic has resulted in staff working from other offices or largely working from home, extra care should be taken when organizing a Grand National draw.
He added: “Organisers, whether employers or employees, should ensure that they do not sell any tickets by email or telephone. Any member of staff wishing to play should come to the office and purchase a physical ticket.
“If these rules are not respected, the organizers and the players would technically be involved in illegal gambling.”
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The rules weren’t regularly used before the pandemic because many employers didn’t have a work-from-home model. But, as working from home has become a more popular protocol, there are fears that many will be caught out by the law.
Other rules that constitute a fair draw by the Gaming Commission include:
- All players must pay the same amount for a ticket.
- Horses should be chosen randomly, for example, drawn from a hat.
- No one can make a profit and all stakes must be returned as prizes, although an organizer may deduct administration costs for running the competition.
- The competition can only be advertised at workplaces and there must be a winner – the prize cannot be postponed.