The Health Lottery has announced it has raised £20m for charity since its launch nine months ago, ahead of next week's hearing on whether to hold a judicial review into the Gambling Commission's decision to allow its creation.
It reached the milestone after Saturday’s draw. When it launched last autumn operators said that they hoped to raise £50m a year for health issues.
So far 320 individual local causes have benefited from the scheme, which is made up of 51 individual society lotteries, with funding being allocated by the People’s Health Trust.
Mencap is one of the beneficiaries. Mark Goldring, chief executive of the charity for those with learning difficulties said: “The money we have been awarded through monies raised by the society lotteries is helping Mencap set up Gateway Active Centres in 20 different regions around the UK, which will provide vital information and advice to people with a learning disability about how to stay fit and healthy.”
Meanwhile Camelot, which runs the National Lottery, has been granted a high court hearing to decide if a judicial review of the Gambling Commission’s decision to allow the creation of the Health Lottery can go ahead.
The hearing is scheduled to begin on Wednesday 11 July 2012. If a judicial review is granted it will take place in the next couple of days.
A Camelot spokeswoman told civilsociety.co.uk that: “We are of the firm belief that the Health Lottery is unlawful and a blatant example of an attempt to commercialise a society lottery on an industrial scale in a way that cuts across both the spirit and letter of statute and regulation.
"It is clear that the Health Lottery has positioned itself as a direct rival to the National Lottery. This is in direct contravention of the intention and will of Parliament that there can only be one National Lottery.”
Camelot announced its decision to apply for a judicial review in March after the Gambling Commission wrote a letter dismissing its concerns about the Health Lottery and defending its decision to award it a licence.
A Health Lottery spokeswoman today rejected Camelot's claims about the unlawfulness of its activities, stating: “Only one body has jurisdiction to describe the Health Lottery as illegal - and that is the Gambling Commission.
"With regard to Camelot’s application for judicial review, we fully support the Gambling Commission’s view that Camelot’s arguments are without legal merit."
The Health Lottery gives 20p of the £1 ticket price to charity compared with the National Lottery's 28p.