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Community lottery to fund culture projects

An online lottery that would raise precious funds for cultural activity is being planned for Middlesbrough.

The draws would support a sector hit hard by Covid-19, with venues forced to close and activities cancelled for several months.

Tickets for the Middlesbrough Community Lottery would cost £1 with a top prize of £25,000 up for grabs.

Up to 60p from each ticket would support events and activities.

A report to the Council's Executive outlines how culture is key to the town's economy but the availability of funding can make delivering ambitious programmes difficult.

The community lottery has been identified as a potential shot in the arm for the town's venues and creative industries.

If successful, the report says, the lottery could fund quality events that would attract people to Middlesbrough, boost pride and improve perceptions.

Cllr Mieka Smiles, Executive Member for Culture and Communities, said: "Culture and events are what animate and really draw footfall and interest into our town centres.

"Finding money for a robust events programme can be tough and my idea for a lottery could help to add to our spending power and support the cultural sector's recovery post Covid.

"We'll keep residents updated on progress with the lottery and I hope that it will be seen as a way to invest in our town whilst having a bit of fun."

The report recommends that the Council enters into partnership with Gatherwell, a company licensed by the Gambling Commission to run lotteries on behalf of good causes and local authorities.

Advertising and marketing would be carried out by Gatherwell, the Council and potentially individual venues or groups who would benefit.

Proceeds from each ticket sale would be distributed as follows:

  • Up to 60p for cultural activity
  • 20p covers prizes
  • 17p to the external lottery manager
  • 3p VAT

Middlesbrough Community Lottery players would choose how the 60p was distributed - with the opportunity for other good causes in Middlesbrough to benefit too.

The whole 60p could be earmarked to support cultural activity in the town nominated by the Council, or 50p could be given to a specified programme selected by the player with the remaining 10p allocated to the Council's nominated cause.

Prizes of up to £25,000 would be up for grabs with the top amount awarded to players who match six numbers.

Other cash prizes of £1,000, £250 and £25 would also be available. 

The Council would apply for a licence from the Gambling Commission.

The commission classes community lotteries as low risk and a number of measures would guard against problem gambling.

Maximum ticket purchases would be in place and players would be unable to buy single tickets or tickets for a draw on the same day.

The report outlines no final decision has been taken on a potential launch date for the lottery, however it is acknowledged the lottery could help the cultural sector recover.

The Council's Executive will consider the report on Tuesday, July 14.

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