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The National Lottery

The National Lottery

In this report, Paul Bickley discusses whether the National Lottery is progressive.

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To date, the Lottery has provided over £21 billion to such projects. The significant revenue created by the Lottery, both in the form of ‘good cause’ money and the 12% levied in tax, begs the questions, who plays, and who benefits? Are critics right to suggest that lower income households are funding projects which, more often than not, benefit the wealthy? In short, is the National Lottery progressive?

Lottery operator Camelot claims that players are spread across social class and other demographics. This paper, which reviews existing evidence and reports findings from new Theos – commissioned polling, argues that this is not the case. The typical player lives in a semi–routine or a lower–supervisory/technical household, will be spending two or three times more than affluent counterparts proportionate to household income and is unlikely to perceive any personal benefit from Lottery grant–making. The report goes on to observe a mildly progressive pattern in the distribution of funds, but suggests that the overall effect of the Lottery is regressive.

 Image from maxpixel available in the public domain.

Paul Bickley

Paul Bickley

Paul is Research Fellow at Theos. His background is in Parliament and public affairs, and he holds an MLitt from the University of St Andrews’ School of Divinity.

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