Gaming Board urged to launch NHS Loto probe

The Gaming Board has been asked to launch a formal inquiry into the activities of the NHS Loto and its operator, Pascal & Company.

The proposed investigation would cover all aspects of the NHS Loto’s financial activities, including its backers and how prize money and charitable donations are distributed.

The Gaming Board has three main statutory obligations, including “ensuring that those involved in organising gaming and lotteries are fit to do so” and advising the Home Secretary on changes in gambling.

It has the power to investigate and recommend further action to the Crown Prosecution Service. But at the moment the NHS Loto does not fall under its jurisdiction – it has been registered with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea since its creation in 1988.

The controversial lottery lost its registration with Kensington & Chelsea four weeks ago after a High Court battle (MW August 16). The local authority had argued that the Loto is a single national lottery and should therefore be registered with the Gaming Board, which has greater powers of scrutiny. Pascal, on the other hand, claimed it was a series of 100 separate societies.

Kensington & Chelsea has now lodged a formal complaint with the Gaming Board. “We want a full investigation into the operation of the NHS Loto including its finances, the relationship with its operator and how its money is allocated,” says a council source. “We still do not understand the unwillingness of the NHS Loto to register with the Gaming Board.”

But Pascal chairman Roger Cummins dismissed the possibility of any Gaming Board investigation, saying it has no power. “Only the CPS has the power to act,” he says.

A Gaming Board spokesman says it has not yet received the complaint but the issue is “something the Board is mindful of at the moment”.

The Charity Commission is believed to be continuing a separate inquiry.

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