Grand National sweepstakes for 2023 could be illegal if working from home this year

It’s that time of year again, horse racing’s premier event: the Grand National. And while offices around the country will be ready to participate in a sweepstake – they could be illegal.

As more of Britain’s workforce has started to work from home following covid – a betting expert has warned sweepstakes could be illegal gambling. Richard Bradley, a gambling regulation expert at Poppleston Allen, has warned companies to be careful.

He said: “While formal gambling activity is heavily regulated by the Gambling Commission, there is an exception designed to allow the general public to have a bit of fun by taking part in what is officially called a work lottery, for major events such as The Grand National.

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“But what many people may not realise is that the rules are very clear in that you can only sell physical tickets and all players must work in the same office.

“Contests running across different office locations of the same company are not allowed.

“Therefore, given the permanent shift to many staff working largely or fully from home, extra care needs to be taken when running a sweepstake.”

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The 2023 Grand National takes place on Saturday at Aintree Racecourse
The 2023 Grand National takes place on Saturday at Aintree Racecourse

He added that those wanting to take part in the sweepstake must go to the office to purchase a ticket. And then offered a stark warning: “If these rules aren’t followed, organisers and players would technically be involved in illegal gambling.”

Companies must follow a set of rules when it comes to sweepstakes – and if they don’t they could fall foul of the Gambling Commission.

These rules include:

  • All players must pay the same amount for a ticket
  • Teams must be decided by chance, for example, drawn out of a hat
  • No one can make a profit and all stakes must be returned as prizes, though an organiser can deduct administration costs for running the contest
  • The sweepstake can only be advertised at the work premises
  • There must be a winner – the prize cannot be rolled over