The Lotteries Council was created in 1979 after a period of change and controversy in the world of lotteries. Previously regulated by local councils under a 1963 Act, maximum permitted limits for a lottery were a 5p ticket price; a £100 prize; a £750 gross; and 10% expenses. A Royal Commission Report that year found that few local authorities policed these limits and breaches were widespread.
Graham Page, MP, (later knighted), a solicitor and former Minister of State at the DoE, saw the opportunity for local authorities, charities and sports organisations to raise substantial funds for community projects. However, the necessary increase in lottery limits would require an Act of Parliament and so, following publication of a Working Party report on lotteries in 1973 he raised a Private Members Bill proposing that larger lotteries be enabled.
Mr Page's research brought him into contact with the Commercial Manager of Crystal Palace FC who was also the Vice Chairman of the Football League Commercial Managers' Association, and a former manager the Wolverhampton FC football pools. So valuable was this source of information from the football community that Mr Page requested his presence in the House on many occasions. His name was Tony Shaw, our current Vice President.
The Bill was defeated but so wide had been its support that a new government went to consultation on its own Lotteries Bill. The Home Office invited opinion from interested parties, with local authorities, charities and sports organisations all submitting proposals. Others were not all supportive of the Bill, some believing that large lotteries would encourage people to spend beyond their means. Others disagreed on monetary limits and frequency.
The Lotteries and Amusements Act of 1976 followed much work by Mr Page in Parliament and in wider consultation, particularly on the issue of regulations. The new limits were a 25p ticket price, a £1000 top prize and a weekly gross of £10,000. Expenses were limited to 15% unless prior approval was given for an increase.
Lotteries with over £250K annual turnover were regulated by the Gaming Board; lottery managers having to familiarise themselves with a complicated Act of Parliament defining three types of lottery, one being divided into Long, Medium and Short Term. It also stipulated where tickets could not be sold, but it did not define a lottery. The Board had no help desk, enquirers being told they must seek their own legal advice. Also, lotteries would receive visits from Inspectors.
It was obvious that the local authorities, charities, sports organisations and suppliers needed a collective voice. A series of meetings of interested parties convened by Mr Page led to The Lotteries Council being constituted in 1979 under the Chairmanship of Graham Page MP, with Roger Cummins as Secretary, and Tony Shaw as Vice Chairman. Current Vice President Michael Edwardes-Evans was appointed as Legal Adviser. By 1983 the Council was elected to full membership of the International Association of State Lotteries; the only non-state lottery representative to be admitted.