Plans for a Redditch lottery, which offers a top prize of £25,000, have been given the go-ahead by the borough council.
The scheme has been piloted by Aylesbury Vale District Council. After a fierce debate at the Town Hall on whether offering another gambling product to Redditch is morally acceptable, councillors voted 16-10 in favour of approving the lottery.
“We have thought long and hard about this but we have decided it’s just not a good idea.” said Labour leader Bill Hartnett. “There are enough ways to play the lottery already and we should be safeguarding children and making sure they don’t start gambling from an early age.”
Lottery tickets are available to anyone aged 16 or above and it is the main concern for Labour. Examples such as Callie Rogers, who won a £1.87 million jackpot at the age of 16, has raised concerns among the public about the age limit for playing the lottery.
Councillor Tom Baker-Price disagreed. He explained that if only 3% of eligible players took it up the lottery could generate up to £53,000 for good causes every year.
“I find the hypocrisy of it all completely mad,” said Baker-Price. “It is not forced on anyone, people have a choice, and they can decide if they want to get involved.”
He continued that the new lottery scheme would be a great opportunity for Redditch to raise funds for local charities. From every ticket sold, 50p will contribute to a charity in the local area.
Nevertheless, Councillor Pat Witherspoon described the proposal of the lottery as “diabolical”. “Wealthy people do not buy lottery tickets, it is once again poor people who will lose out.”
It is expected that the lottery will be available to players within the coming 12 months. It will be operated by management company Gatherswell Ltd.
The draw will take place once a week, offering a jackpot of £25,000. The odds of matching all six numbers, hence winning the top prize is a million to one. If the player manages to match five numbers, they will receive £2000. Matching three numbers will result in a £25 win while players who match two numbers will be rewarded a free ticket.