I recently referred to Unity Lottery when discussing Pets at Home’s pet charity ‘Support Adoption for Pets’. During research I was taken by the strong assertions by Unity Lottery that they had no connection to Unity Lotto. That set me wondering what was going on.
Unity Lotto operate a lottery syndicate, rather than a lottery so they maintain they are not required to be regulated or authorised by the Gambling Commission. If you are one of the many who have a complaint they suggest in the T’s&C’s ‘For more information, please visit the Gambling Commission Website. (Not much use if they are unregulated). We are not required to be regulated by the Financial Services Authority, as the syndicate we operate is not an investment scheme.’
As far as we can ascertain Unity Lotto is not connected with Camelot Group PLC, any charitable good works or any other lottery providers nor is it in receipt of commissions.
UnityLotto EuroMillions syndicated service enables members to play the lottery together by buying a number of tickets at a shared cost and splitting any prizes won.
This is a sample costing and reward calculation: assume ‘150 syndicate members pay £37 each for 4 weeks of 150 tickets a week. Total income £5,550 Money spent on tickets = £1,200.
Profits before costs for Unity Lotto £4350.
Not actually illegal and pretty much on a par with every scam online syndicate I have seen – most of them also offer existing members incentives to drag more victims in.
Good luck trying to get anything back and avoid online syndicates in the future.’ (Money Saving Expert forum).
Most of the complaints we have seen are based on recruitment of new members, taking money without clarity or due authority, misleading phone calls purporting to be from the National Pension Service and disappearing without responding to problems.
The Unity Lottery is a ‘common brand lottery jointly promoted with individual society lotteries. Each Lottery operated under Unity (part of Sterling Lotteries) is a separate licensed lottery, operated by and supporting that particular good cause.’ It is registered with the Gambling Commission.
Members sign-up to pay £1 per week for a unique six-digit lottery number. Numbers are entered into a weekly draw, with various prizes including a £25,000 jackpot. For every £1 received 50p will go directly to your chosen charity or cause. (50%) The rest covers prizes, profits and administration costs.
According to their parent organisation web site ‘in 2014, Sterling enabled over 250 organisations to raise a total of almost £45 million through fundraising lotteries. Their lottery members shared over £7.5 million in prizes.’ That looks like £45m less £7.5m prizes leaving about £27.5m for running costs and profits.
Neither of these organisations is a charity. Unity Lotto needs to be supped with a very long spoon if at all.
Unity Lottery raises lots of money for lots of good causes from the supporters of those causes.
Lotteries offer significant potential for big business, fund raisers, managers and charities alike. They tend to rely on data bases of existing causes.
The National Lottery may have a lot to answer for in how it has changed our approach to charity.