back to article Is your office World Cup sweepstake legal?

Many of the sweepstakes being run at workplaces ahead of next week's football World Cup are likely to be illegal, according to an expert in gambling law. Sweeps with informal tickets and even those where some proceeds go to charity can be illegal. As next Friday's World Cup draws nearer, clubs, societies and workplaces are …

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I tried, I really tried.

I even finished the paragraph concerning multiple-site locations. Then I remembered that life's too short, and now I'm going down the pub

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Anonymous Coward

Pub

I want to go down the pub :(

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Anonymous Coward

Careful

Don't be tempted by the bonus ball.

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FAIL

Of Mountains and Molehills

It would be a brave decision to prosecute the organiser of a non-profit sweepstake, irrespective of the actualities of the Law.

It doesn't take much imagination to envisage the media shitstorm such an action would create.

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Unhappy

Indeed!

More than anything this is obviously designed to put the frighteners up the HR dept who will speak to management and next thing there will a company-wide email, "NO HAVING FUN! AGAINST THE COMPANY REGS AND AGAINST THE LAW!'

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The theory and the practice

While all this may be very well in a lawyers exam, in the day-to-day workplace it's irrelevant. No matter what the law states, you will still get individuals or groups of friends writing countries' names on small pieces of paper and charging "willing participants" a quid a pop to engage in a bit of a laugh.

Who cares if it breaks the letter of the law? These days there are so many laws that we probably unwittingly break have a dozen every day.

What does matter is that the law enfarcement people have better things to do than try to crush small-time and often spontaneous activities like this. We know that these little sweepstakes happen every year with the Grand National and a few other events. Telling people they're illegal doesn't do anything to endear the participants to the legal system.

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Unhappy

"The first thing we must do is kill all the lawyers,"

Note to the CPS - these are not my words, but a shocking quote from William Shakespeare which I in no way condone. I don't know where he lives but I'm sure he'll be on a database somewhere.

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Twit

Remember the twitter bomber? You'll have the old bill knocking on your door tonight.

Anyone want to run a sweepstake on what time they'll knock his door down?

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Headmaster

I have just one word

>>This exemption also only applies if no profits are made from the lottery and all funds are paid out as prizes. This means that any attempt to make a charity donation with some of the proceeds would make the lottery illegal<<

Hilarious.

The funny thing is, we make informal bets all the time.

Don't go out with an umbrella with (or sometimes without) clouds in the sky? Betting that the rain won't ruin your suit or shoes!

Changing jobs? Betting that the new one won't sack you. You'll win a salary on one hand, the dole on the other.

Getting married? Betting that the girl won't divorce and ruin you. Often millions considering Sir McCarthy.

Thing is there are so many ways in which information gambling is already in our culture, it's just the numbnuts in parliament that think it's possible to regulate it.

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Coat

Re: "Often millions considering Sir McCarthy."

He should count himself lucky. She might have got more if she'd had a leg to stand on.

The one with the Big Book of Tasteless Jokes in the pocket thanks.

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Headmaster

RE "Sir McCarthy"

Would that be John, or Mick? Didn't realise either of 'em had been kniggited. I'm guessing it's not the 1950s US Commie-fearin' senator either.

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FAIL

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

Sigh... yes, his spelling was wrong. Though it seems the previous reply knew precisely who was being referenced.

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RJ
FAIL

Sooo.....

...how many people actually give a damn?

Precisely.

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Laugh a minute

Laugh a minute in OUT-LAWs offices then.

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...what?

So, to paraphrase:

"Ok, so you want fun with your collegues? Tough shit, it's not going to happen. No, we don't care that this has gone on for so many decades before we even existed, and that really it is just a bit of a laugh, a bit of company bonding, so to speak.

Fun? You want FUN? Fuck you, you're supposed to be working for crying out loud!"

Thanks chaps, thanks a lot.

AC because the company I work for may or may not have already done this, and I may or may not have already taken part.

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Illegal or not...

...you'd have to be a complete Jobsworth to report your company's sweepstake to the council unless you thought there was some kind of deception or fraud involved. This just sounds like lawyers trying to drum up some consulting work with FUD.

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in other news.........

people all over the country declared Susan Biddle to be an idiot, and went ahead with what they were gonna do, ignoring the noise coming out of her mouth!

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Unhappy

Who?

So who are Susan Biddle and Sir McCarthy anyway?

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FAIL

Mighty Gaz?

Mighty Gaz - Mighty Fuckwit more like. Susan Biddle did not write this legislation so don't shoot the messenger.

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Cant stand football

But the idea of having a few weeks long party could be great :)

And of course, it would be for charity... so moral bonus points as well...

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We want our cut!

Typical scare-mongering. "Hey! You there! Stop that illegal poker night you're running amongst your friends. We are supposed to get our cut of the winnings."

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Same as raffles

Most raffles are illegal, though I've never heard of one actually being prosecuted.

Some examples:

a) Raffle takes place over two days with the prize being drawn on the second day. Wrong -- the draw has to take place on the day the tickets were sold, so that has to be split into two raffles.

b) One of the prizes is a donated bottle of wine. Usually wrong -- prizes cannot be alcoholic unless the premises are licensed to sell alcohol.

c) Tickets are 25p each or £1 for a strip of five. Wrong -- all tickets must be sold for the SAME price and all tickets must have an equal chance of winning.

d) raffling a car or a house and offering tickets for sale on ebay or elsewhere -- definitely wrong. To qualify for exemption tickets can only be sold at a one-day event, to people physically attending the event and the draw must take place the same day.

Yet I actually reported a particularly severe instance of d) to Edinburgh Trading Standards -- who took no action whatsoever as far as I can see.

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Not quite...

"b) One of the prizes is a donated bottle of wine. Usually wrong -- prizes cannot be alcoholic unless the premises are licensed to sell alcohol."

They only need a licence if all of the prizes are alcohol. If there's a bottle of wine amongst a load of other prizes in a raffle, people buying tickets aren't garuanteed to get a bottle of wine so it doesn't count as selling alcohol.

Although, if you held a fund raising dinner and the ticket included a glass of wine with the meal, you'd need a licence.

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Pint

Re: Not quite...

"They only need a licence if all of the prizes are alcohol."

*All* of the prizes? Spot the obvious workaround!

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Re: Re: NotQuite...

Unfortunately, I seem to remember that it's one of the areas that isn't well defined so most councils would say that fell under the unwritten "you're taking the piss" rule. If a school raffle for charity gives away a few bottles, no-one cares. If they think you might have been cleverer than them, they'll get annoyed and fine you.

Mind you, as long as you don't do it too often, you could get a temporary licence and that only costs £20-£30.

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Happy

Stuggling to care...

I really am!

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Megaphone

it's all in the scale

the law-makers are still far away from common sense as usual... it would be much easier to put a generic cap on amounts and frequency to calm the whole issue down and show that your colleagues are obviously not doing it as a business would, but simply to bring a little excitement in the office...

if there are 3 or 4 sweepstakes in a year in the office and they all have the "standard £1 ticket" I don't see any problem at all with it, and neither should the legislators, who is too obtuse to see the difference with a real addicting and greedy business like the betting shops one

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@AC 09:37

Sometimes it can be better to have flexibility in enforcement than explicit exemptions in legislation.

If there are rigid limits of what is allowed, that can sometimes effectively be interpreted as saying 'anything more than this is definitely wrong', rather than 'anything less than this is harmless'.

Without fixed limits, it is still pretty hard to prosecute someone for doing what loads of other people do quite openly unless that person is obviously taking the piss, but it can be difficult to define precisely what 'taking the piss' actually is when it comes to drafting legislation.

If you had a fixed [legal] cap on the number of sweepstakes in an office per year, would that make someone (in management?) responsible for keeping a legal record of all the ones that have happened?

What is defined as 'an office'?

What happens if multiple people have their own small sweepstakes on an event in a large 'office'?

etc.

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WTF?

Does this mean..

that lottery syndicates are also "illegal"? And if so, exactly how are they going to enforce it??

Another rubbish law!

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Does this mean..

well first we need some way of proving who everyone is, some kind of nationwide identity system, with a huge back end database which will cost the taxpayers billions....

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Happy

Does that mean...

that I can get my money back then? I got Algeria!

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Great minds and all that.

I'll swap you for North Korea.

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Sold a dud.

Great News!!! I got North Korea, so potentially I can still get my money back.

Anyone got Susan's number?

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WTF?

Ridiculous!

Everywhere i've ever worked had a Grand National sweep. And a Christmas raffle. Does anyone buy cloakroom tickets for their eponymous purpose?

This would make almost everybody a criminal.

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Paris Hilton

All I know.......

... is the £3 I put in, got me Greece & the winner takes all.

This "law" is so that some one does not try to start there own bookies. There is no way you could even think about enforcing this for every small sweep stake that went on in England. On the Grand National, they would just about have to arrest everyone in the country. lol Would be very amusing if they did try to.

Paris, because even she knows that Greece in a £3 sweep stake was a waste of a pint....

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@harry

You forget all the win a house lotteries of the past few years. They all got large amounts of publicity, are totally against the spirit of the law let alone the law itself and yet non were prosecuted.

This just seems a article written for public relations. Not that I mind that but I better starting point would be the law is a mess because you can't do .... while everyone knows people do.

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Go

Lawyers

Q. What do you call 10,000 lawyers laying drowned at the bottom of the sea?

A. A good start.

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Lying not laying

Lying not laying - unless you think they produce eggs.

Jesus the standard or grammar these days...

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RE: Lying not laying

I think he meant laying as in laying down. Yes, lawyers lie so they would have been lying also.

Though, personally, I always thought the above should be lying and lieing.

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@ac

"Lying not laying - unless you think they produce eggs.

Jesus the standard or grammar these days.."

"of" not "or" the irony!! :P

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Joke

I See...

I think the corect response to this article has to be the highly useful (and adaptable): Get a fucking life

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Alert

Of course it's ILLEGAL!

If the Government can't TAX it, it MUST be ILLEGAL!

Lucky they haven't thought of a way to tax k1dd13 pr0n; though I'm sure they're working on it...

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WTF?

Frankly dear...

...I don't give a damn!

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Happy

re. Frankly Dear

Neither do I Colin sweetie.

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Two Finger Salute

Your average workplace sweepstake between a group of friends is going to totally ignore what the law says about the legality. Those who are concerned can decline to take part, the rest will all chip in their pound and curse when they end up with the rank outsider.

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Anonymous Coward

Fuck the law

Who the hell knows what laws we break every day. The last load of lawyers/lobbyists/placemen created more than 4000 new ones. Hell even the judges can't keep up.

Time we barred anyone with a law/politics degree from being a MP. Really, it is for all they do is generate more and more spurious crap - you can't even call them laws, for some passed in the SAME SESSION of Parliament contradict each other.

Its not a question of whether laws are needed to these morons, its more a case of why shouldn't we have more... and more.....

“If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble,… “the law is a ass—a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience—by experience.”

Dickens - Oliver Twist (1837-39). Still good advice.

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@Those who think this article is in some way irrelevant.

While it is true that, in most cases, you'll be fine carrying on with whatever it is you're doing regarding sweepstakes and the like you should not laugh this off.

If you own a business, think carefully about this next time you fire someone around the time of the world cup, for example. I'm sure a disgruntled ex-employee who knows about this will try to use it to their advantage.

If you happen to be a law firm, or in another other highly regulated industry I am sure that your regulatory body will not take kindly to you breaking the law -- should a client, employee or competitor decide to report you to the police.

There are probably many other situations where this will get you into some kind of trouble -- even if you're never actually charged with the offence in the end.

So, yes, this may be irrelevant to you at this moment -- but, like many other minor laws we all break from time to time, there are situations where this could bite you in the arse.

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a disgruntled anyone ...

could potentially take advantage of this knowledge.

hell I picked Algeria in our sweep, perhaps i'm disgruntled enough to report this activity so that the rules can be clarified and I get a re-pick or my money (£2.50) back :D

but seriously, I joke above, but there will be people out there who are just about gruntled enough to do it just for the kick it gives them.

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Anonymous Coward

Fuck 'em and their law.

It is irrelivent, no one gives a shit.

Even if they did and someone was running a world cup sweepstake for their work collegues that didn't adhere to the letter of some legislation and they reported it to the authorities, the chances of anything happening are so remote it's not even worth thinking about.

The kind of person that actually thinks this is an important issue simply needs something worthwile in their lives to worry about.

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RE: Fuck 'em and their law.

It could be interesting to report someone to the police for this, then see them do nothing.

Are the police really able to ignore a reported crime?

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