Charity gambling

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Charity gambling is the practice where typical gambling 'games' such as bingo, roulette, lottery, slot machines, etc. are overseen by a charity or group of charities. The profits from the venture go to the charity or group of charities, rather than to a municipality or private casino. Sometimes this occurs as a 'one time event' during a casino night or such type party. In other cases, charity interests maintain ongoing gambling concerns.

In the UK, lotteries are permitted provided they raise money for charities. By law, the charity must receive at least 20% of the value of the lottery ticket. These lotteries are sold in competition with the National Lottery but operate under tighter regulations. For example, a lottery run for charity can have a maximum jackpot of £200,000 whereas the National Lottery has no maximum.

On line gambling, operated off shore of the UK, is not regulated in the same way. With the increasing popularity of on line bingo a charity bingo site called BigHeartBingo.co.uk and BigHeartBingo.com has been set up on a not-for-profit basis to raise funds for charity in the same way that lotteries do. BigHeartBingo was founded by Jeremy Collis, formerly CEO of Littlewoods Lotteries, the largest provider of charity lotteries in the UK. BigHeartBingo raises money for major charities like Cancer Research, NSPCC, Save the Children, Age Concern, Great Ormond St Hospital (GOSH), RNIB and Comic Relief amongst many. However, BigHeartbingo players' favourites are wildlife and animal welfare charities such as World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Born Free Foundation, Battersea Dogs Home, Dogs Trust and Cats Protection. It also supports smaller charities around the world such as Animal Rescue Egypt, Chobe WildlifeRescue in Botswana and now bear sanctuaries such as Bear With Us and North West Wildlife Sanctuary in Canada.

In a new development, the new UK Gambling Act has permitted the sale of charity lottery tickets from machines for the first time. In a new venture to take advantage of this change, Gamestec Plc and Tabboxx (UK) Ltd are rolling out Tabboxx lottery vending machines across UK pubs. These new machines sell lottery tickets in aid of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. Ironically, Tabboxx machines are often being used to replace cigarette machines in those pubs. Major pubs chains in the UK (Punch, Marstons, Greene King etc) are removing cigarette machines across the UK and replacing them with TaBBOXX lottery machines. In Jan 2012, in the run up to the London Olympics, TaBBOXX joined with Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust to launch a lottery raising money to help disadvantaged young people through sport.