House Lotto or Notto

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 16th, 2008

People who bought raffle tickets to win a house in Devon have been told the prize draw, due to have taken place today, has been postponed. 

Brian and Wendy Wilshaw sold 46,000 tickets costing £25 each for the chance to win the £1m Oldborough Mansion estate near Crediton, but a message posted on their website informed entrants the draw had been halted by the Gambling Commission. The commission said it could not comment on individual cases. A spokesman for the Wilshaws said they were “distraught” at having to postpone the draw. He said they were in discussions with the Gambling Commission to resolve the issue “as soon as possible”. And went on to say: “I can say with absolute certainty that if the Gambling Commission decides that the draw can’t go ahead then everyone will get their money back.” 

A competition entrant from London, who asked not to be named, said: “I woke up this morning expecting one of two things to happen, to either win a house or be happy someone else had won a house. I was not expecting be told it was postponed.” She said she had been checking the competition website every day and was annoyed that the Wilshaws had waited until Wednesday night to announce the postponement. 
  
The 11-acre Oldborough Mansion estate at Morchard Bishop includes a house, fishing lake and holiday cottages. It was valued at £1m before the competition started. 

The Gambling Commission recently warned homeowners who were considering selling houses in this way that they could fall foul of the 2005 Gambling Act. Tom Kavanagh, deputy chief-executive, said: “Lotteries are the preserve of good causes and cannot be operated for private gain.”

“Prize competitions are free of statutory control under the Gambling Act and can be run for profit. But homeowners considering such schemes as an alternative to selling their house risk committing a criminal offence if they cross the boundary and stray into offering an illegal lottery.”

The Wilshaws claim they contacted the Gambling Commission twice before launching their lottery to make sure it would not breach any rules. The couple originally said they decided to raffle the estate to beat the slowdown in the housing market.

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