1 June 2016
As with any big sporting event, the imminent Euro 2016 football championships have brought with them various workplace sweepstakes. Employers may not be aware that this kind of activity is technically classed as a ‘lottery’ and must therefore comply with the Gambling Act 2005.
The Gambling Commission, which was set up under the Gambling Act, has published advice on organising small lotteries which can help employers avoid acting contrary to legislation. Once Euro 2016 is underway, the excitement of a penalty shootout may yet again decide the fate of our national team. However, with a maximum fine of £5,000, this is one penalty you certainly want to avoid!
The advice which has been issued in relation to workplace lotteries, including sweepstakes, specifies certain criteria that must be met. This includes ensuring that no profits can be made – proceeds can only go towards prizes, ‘reasonable expenses’ or to support a good cause. A sweepstake must only be promoted on a ‘single set of premises’ and participants must also ‘work on the same work premises’. This obviously has implications for employers with staff based at multiple sites.
It is also worth stating that major sporting events, particularly those with kick off times during the working day, can lead to employees taking time off work in order to watch the action. Any leave requests should be dealt with in the usual manner and employees who phone in sick must also adhere to the usual procedures. In addition, we recommend robust social media and internet policies that regulate usage during working hours. After all, you pay your staff to work, not to monitor the latest scores!
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