The national lottery is a non-governmental money pot to help fund worthwhile causes such as sports, arts and heritage. It is also many a person's way of escaping a hum drum life with the hope that those magic numbers will appear out of Lancelot along with giant fingers in the claim that'it could be you!' The Camelot group, who won the tender back in 1994 have since expanded the cumulative funds of the re-branded Lotto game with a variety of scratch cards, and crazy money add-ons to the usual Saturday night telly treat.
What does being involved in the lottery really mean and how can it be different from the supposed sin of gambling? Basically, running a lottery is a way to raise money for good causes, so psychologically a person can focus on the benefits of taking part in a lottery. It is there to provide funds for a good cause that will benefit a community or country, whilst allowing a minority of people to win money, and also making it clear that the majority will lose. The idea is that people take part to help, not to become millionaires. However, the majority of publicity is on winning, gambling; and advertisements to encourage participation focus on the prize money element rather encouraging a good natured approach to donating to a public pot.
So, once we've handed over our precious pound, what actually happens? Well, fifty pence is for the prize fund, twenty-eight pence is given to parliament approved good causes, twelve pence for the government as duty, five pence to the retailer as commission and the remaining five pence goes back to Camelot to cover costs, of which half a pence is taken as profit. The prize fund is divided up in such a way that a person has a 1 in 56 chance of winning 10 GBP through to a 1 in 13,000,000 chance of winning the jackpot. After the 10 GBP payouts for three numbers, 22 per cent of the remaining fund is allotted to those with four numbers, 10 per cent of that remainder is then shared between those with 5 numbers, 16 per cent of that remainder is for 5 balls plus the bonus ball and 52 per cent of whatever is left is for jackpot winners. If no one has a ticket that matches the winning numbers, that percentage of the money rolls over to the following week's prize money.
Any prize monies that remain unclaimed after 180 days are distributed to fund good causes. This fund has remained a controversial element of the lottery process. A large proportion of the money goes into this sector, 18 per cent of which is given to the state, making it regarded by some as a stealth tax because the government department for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for distributing the money. This gives the impression to some that the government are avoiding certain responsibilities and using public money for areas which the government should be responsible for providing for. The Heritage Lottery Fund on the other hand is a public entity set up by parliament to restore and protect the country's heritage through culture, museums, landscape management and archaeology. So far this fund has provided 4 billion GBP worth of funding and the Lotto fund in total has raised 20 billion GBP for good causes. To apply for lottery funding of this type, the cause has to be for a socially beneficial purpose or serve a charitable purpose; and in the main is divided into sports, arts and heritage.