$1bn Red Cross game is ‘illegal’

A worldwide lottery designed to raise $1bn for the International Red Cross has been ruled illegal in the UK by the Home Office.

It means the organisers of The Millions 2000 draw will not be allowed to launch, promote or sell tickets for the 31 December 1999 in the UK. The lottery is run from Liechtenstein by lottery company InterLotto.

Representatives of the International Federation of the Red Cross have met Home Office minister George Howarth to lobby for permission to run the game in the UK.

But a Home Office spokeswoman says: “The minister met with representatives of the International Red Cross and made it clear it would be unlawful to sell tickets for an overseas lottery.”

Under the 1976 Lotteries & Amusements Act, it is illegal to promote or advertise a foreign lottery in the UK. Tickets for the game will be available in the UK over the Internet and through a phone link to Liechtenstein. This is not illegal, as sales will be made from outside the UK. The draw could face similar legal problems in other European countries.

TV presenter David Frost is negotiating TV deals to broadcast an interactive gameshow. The Millions 2000 consortium hired ad agency GGT.London last week to run an international campaign it claims will be worth 30m (MW April 16).

See Cover Story, page 28

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