Could Portsmouth get its own lottery?

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PORTSMOUTH could be on the cusp of holding its own lottery which will support cash-strapped charities within the city.

City councillors agreed to looking into the viability of such a scheme, which could provide much-needed funds to good causes in Portsmouth.

I don’t think it’s right for the local authority to present another option for people to spend money which gambling addicts usually need and should be spending on themselves.

Councillor Phil Smith, Liberal Democrat

The operation would work similarly to Aylesbury Vale District Council’s, which runs a £20,000 sweepstake for £1 a week.

A total of 58p of this will go to charities while the remainder covers the costs to run the operation and funding the prizes.

Councillor Luke Stubbs, who put forward the idea, said it would not be difficult to get running.

‘We need to find out if this would work for Portsmouth,’ he added.

However, concerns were raised by councillors, at the authority’s final full council last night.

Liberal Democrat councillors Hugh Mason and Phil Smith was worried what impact a council-endorsed scheme could have on gambling addicts in the city.

Speaking at the meeting last night, Cllr Smith said: ‘I don’t think it’s right for the local authority to present another option for people to spend money which gambling addicts usually need and should be spending on themselves.

‘There are significant issues, perhaps not in massive numbers but for a small number of people gambling is an absolutely crippling addiction.’

However, Cllr Stubbs said this wouldn’t be an issue.

He told councillors: ‘I think what drives people towards impulsive gambling is the giant jackpots.

‘You find that much more with lottery tickets where the amount you can win is very large or towards the scratch cards or slot machines model where the pay-off is instant.

‘But this wouldn’t be either of those. This wouldn’t be a really large pay-off and it wouldn’t be instant.

‘So I suspect that for people who are susceptible to gambling with money they can ill-afford to lose this would not be how they would do that.’

The initiative is available to councils under the Localism Act.

He stressed the public would take a role in nominating the local Portsmouth charities, not the council and said it was likely a large number of city causes would be in line to receive a small amount of cash.