Regulator flays global lottery firm

A company which markets overseas lotteries in the UK has been accused of operating with “questionable legality” by the regulator, the Gaming Board.

The European Lottery Guild (ELG) promotes overseas lotteries in the UK by sending mailings directly to players’ homes. Promotional literature gives a UK freephone number which players can ring to play lotteries from Europe, Canada and Australia using their credit cards. Calls are diverted directly to the company’s head office in Vancouver, Canada.

But the Gaming Board says the legality of such an operation is questionable, as it could contravene the 1976 Lotteries & Amusements Act. This states it is an offence to advertise or promote a foreign lottery in the UK.

Michael McLaughlin, the vice-president for sales of ELG’s parent company Vancouver-based CW Agencies, insists the scheme is legal in the UK. He claims the European Court had thrown out an attempt by UK Customs & Excise to stop a German lottery agent called Schindler from distributing German lottery tickets in the UK.

However, contrary to McLaughlin’s claims, the European Court of Justice in fact ruled that the UK’s ban on the sale of foreign lottery tickets is legal.

ELG has used UK direct marketing agency Lavery Rowe to target players with mailshots, spending nearly 200,000 according to Register-MEAL.

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