Are Facebook Private Lotteries Legal

Lottery syndicates are legal and many people belong to one or more.

But gambling through Facebook Groups is not legal though hundreds of such groups exist.

Facebook users are being warned about illegal lottery groups which take money from members but don’t pay out.

The prizes promised include smartphones, cars, game consoles and cash prizes of up to £5,000.

Stakes of 50p to £20 are bet on the number of the Lotto bonus ball, with the administrator of the illegal raffle usually taking a large share of proceeds. Some may be rigged or the organisers simply disappear with all the stake money.

The law says that lotteries cannot be run for private or commercial gain. Gambling experts say these privately run groups encourage children to start betting. Illegal bets on the National Lottery.

Some groups do pay out, with the organisers taking a share of the money, while a few have been set up to raise money for charity or community campaigns, but according to the law lotteries cannot be run for private or commercial gain.

The Gambling Commission is working to close down these groups and it can also prosecute those found in breach of the law with a £5,000 fine or up to 51 weeks in prison.

If in any doubt, you can check the licence register on the Gambling Commission  website (www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk) or contact the local authority where the lottery is based.

Join a syndicate of people you trust and not through a Facebook Group.

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