First Practice Management
- Posted Thursday June 10, 2021
With the delayed Euro 2020 football tournament starting tomorrow, employees may be thinking about starting a workplace sweepstake. Work sweepstakes can be great fun and generate some positive competition between employees.
The idea is for participating employees to pay in a small amount of cash, usually only one or two pounds, to then randomly select a team from a hat. They then follow that team’s performance throughout the competition with the “last employee standing” at the end winning some, if not all of the money that was put into the sweepstake. Depending on the amount of money at stake or the decision of the practice, it could be divided between the winner and the runners-up.
However, without trying to be a killjoy, are there any considerations for the practice with employees gambling on work premises?
The Gambling Commission definition of a lottery (in simple terms) is as a kind of gambling that has three essential elements:
- payment is required to participate
- one or more prizes are awarded
- those prizes are awarded by chance
This is set out more formally in the Act which defines two types of lottery, a simple lottery, and a complex lottery.
An arrangement is a simple lottery if:
- people are required to pay to participate in the arrangement
- in the course of the arrangement one or more prizes are allocated to one or more people in a class
- the prizes are allocated by a process which relies wholly on chance
However, did you know this type of scheme qualifies as a “work” lottery under the Gambling Act 2005? You do not need a licence to run this type of lottery but the Gambling Act 2005 does set out some rules in organising such a sweepstake.
Work lotteries do not require a licence as long as only people who work together on the same premises participate. Work lotteries can only be promoted by someone who works on the premises and tickets can only be sold to other people who work on the same single site.
The lottery must not run for profit and all the proceeds must be used for prizes or reasonable expenses incurred in organising the lottery. An arrangement such as a Grand National sweepstake held in a practice is an example of a work lottery.
Please note the above guidance is of a general nature. It is important that practices ensure policy guidelines and contractual obligations are followed.
In addition to the above FPM members can obtain further information via the FPM website. Alternatively members can also email specific questions about employment issues to firstname.lastname@example.org where your question will be treated in confidence and will normally be answered (by email) within 2 working days of submission.
Click here to download your free sweepstake kit.
Information from ACAS, Personnel Today and the HSE’s website has been used within this article.