World Cup sweepstakes could be illegal if staff work from home and not in office

World Cup sweepstakes could be illegal if staff are working from home.

Ahead of the tournament in Qatar, plenty of businesses around the world will be letting their employees have a bit of fun by charging them a small sum to put their name in a hat with a chance to win a cash prize.

But those working remotely will be engaging in illegal gambling, according to experts.

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Richard Bradley, a gambling regulation expert at Poppleston Allen, has delivered a stark warning, saying that gambling regulation will only allow for a sweepstake to occur if they meet certain rules, and that in the post-Covid world, they ‘now need to be more cautious.'

Bradley said: “While formal gambling activity is heavily regulated by the Gambling Commission, there is an exception designed to allow the general public to have a bit of fun by taking part in what is officially called a work lottery, for major events such as The Grand National or a World Cup.

“But what many people may not realise is that the rules are very clear in that you can only sell physical tickets and all players must work in the same office – contests running across different office locations of the same company are not allowed.

“Therefore, given the permanent shift to many staff working largely or fully from home, extra care needs to be taken when running a World Cup sweepstake.

He continued: “Organisers, whether employers or employees, must make sure they do not sell any tickets via email or over the phone. Any staff member who wants to play must visit the office and buy a physical ticket. If these rules aren’t followed, organisers and players would technically be involved in illegal gambling.”

Bradley also says that there are other rules that a company must ensure are met if they don’t want to fall foul and get in trouble with the Gambling Commission.

These rules include:

  • All players must pay the same amount for a ticket
  • Teams must be decided by chance, for example, drawn out of a hat
  • No one can make a profit and all stakes must be returned as prizes, though an organiser can deduct administration costs for running the contest
  • The sweepstake can only be advertised at the work premises
  • There must be a winner – the prize cannot be rolled over


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