Couple Raffling Their Home Forced To Abandon Plan

House Raffle Lottery
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While the raffling of homes has grown in popularity, one couple has been forced to abandon their raffling plans after the Gambling Commission stepped in.

Robert and Avril Smith unveiled their plans last year to sell their North Yorkshire home with 60,000 tickets selling at £10 each.

Their four-bedroom property is valued at £500,000 and comes with a swimming pool, orangery, log cabin and hot tub.

The winner was set to be drawn on Thursday (3 Jan) but the Gambling Commission stepped in to say that they were not running a legal prize competition.

The draw was originally scheduled to take place last August but then the retired couple teamed-up with Cancer Research UK who had agreed to promote it. In return, the charity would receive up to £60,000.

However, the couple was told before Christmas that the raffle could not continue.

In a statement, the couple said: “It’s with sincere regret the competition has to close.”

Gambling Commission Deemed Their Raffle As A Potential Lottery

They added that the Gambling Commission had deemed their raffle as a lottery and not as a legal prize competition.

The couple said: “We understand the disappointment and can only apologise sincerely and offer a full refund.”

The couple says that the Gambling Commission was aware of their competition last July but only informed them of its decision several days before Christmas.

Mr Smith told one national newspaper: “It’s been the worst Christmas in 48 years of marriage. We’ve got to pick ourselves up.”

Under gaming regulations, only the National Lottery and certain charities can run draws that are based on chance.

This means that the couple did not have a sufficient barrier to entry to ensure that the raffle’s result would be based on more than pure chance.

House Raffles Have Grown In Popularity Since 2017

Since house raffles have grown in popularity since 2017, the Gambling Commission has confirmed that private lotteries are illegal and draws must include an element of skill.

However, home raffles have increasingly been hitting the headlines with growing numbers of homeowners looking to shift a property they have struggled to sell.

Those that hit the headlines last year include F1 boss Eddie Jordan announcing he would raffle a flat in Tooting, London, that he was renovating and one family announced it would sell their mansion flat with tickets costing £25.

Another family created a stir when they announced plans to raffle their £3 million family home after a series of potential sales fell through.

The property on the Hampshire/Dorset border has six bedrooms, a cinema and snooker room, along with 60 feet of river frontage with fishing rights and the draw is scheduled for early this year.

One industry publication carried out a study and they found that over the last 18 months, around 30 property raffles had been staged in the UK and with growing numbers of home sellers struggling to find buyers, it looks likely that raffles will grow increasingly in popularity in 2019.

More information

The Gambling Commission has a page encouraging homeowners not to gamble with a home raffle.


  • Steve Lumley

    Steve Lumley has years of experience writing about property. His output has covered everything from property investment, news for landlords and student tenants to articles on how to run a successful portfolio and starting out as a property investor. He has also written several books on the subject.

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