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World Cup sweepstakes could be illegal due to obscure law

Josh Lawless

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| Last updated 

World Cup sweepstakes could be illegal due to obscure law

Office World Cup sweepstakes could be illegal should staff be working at home, a gambling expert has warned.

Sweepstakes for when the World Cup comes around every four years are a tradition. You put a bit of cash in, everyone gets allocated a team from the World Cup and then the winner takes the earnings.

Sometimes the funds are split fairly between first, second and third and it's a great way to get behind someone like Denmark in the event that England are eliminated.

However, Richard Bradley, a gambling regulation expert, has revealed that sweepstakes are actually prohibited in a company runs it across multiple locations.

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All those involved must be in the same working environment and only physical tickets can be sold. If not, they are technically participating in illegal gambling.

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

"While formal gambling activity is heavily regulated by the Gambling Commission, there is an exception designed to allow the general public to have a bit of fun by taking part in what is officially called a work lottery, for major events such as The Grand National or a World Cup," Bradley, an expert at Poppleston Allen.

“But what many people may not realise is that the rules are very clear in that you can only sell physical tickets and all players must work in the same office – contests running across different office locations of the same company are not allowed.

“Therefore, given the permanent shift to many staff working largely or fully from home, extra care needs to be taken when running a World Cup sweepstake.

"Organisers, whether employers or employees, must make sure they do not sell any tickets via email or over the phone. "Any staff member who wants to play must visit the office and buy a physical ticket. If these rules aren’t followed, organisers and players would technically be involved in illegal gambling.”

Bradley also released a list of rules for business to follow to ensure they are not getting in any bother:

They are as follows:

  • All players must pay the same amount for a ticket
  • Teams must be decided by chance, for example, drawn out of a hat
  • No one can make a profit and all stakes must be returned as prizes, though an organiser can deduct administration costs for running the contest
  • The sweepstake can only be advertised at the work premises
  • There must be a winner – the prize cannot be rolled over


Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Football World Cup

Josh Lawless
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