House of Commons Library

The National Lottery: how does it work?

Published Monday, December 16, 2019

This Library Briefing gives an overview of how the National Lottery operates.

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The National Lottery began in November 1994. Since then, it has raised over £40 billion for good causes and awarded over 535,000 grants.

There are four parties that contribute to running the Lottery:

The third licence to run the Lottery came into force in February 2009. It expires in 2023. The fourth licensing competition is expected to be launched in 2020.

This Paper gives a brief overview of how the Lottery works and some of the issues that have been raised about its future.  These include:

  • the need to better publicise the Lottery’s benefits to good causes;
  • whether the minimum age for playing games should be raised from 16 to 18.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8744

Author: John Woodhouse

Topics: Gambling, National Lottery

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