Local police put stop to raffle
The raffle, organized by the St Patrick’s GAC Mayobridge club, has been in motion since October 2018. The winner was to be announced on August 17, just three weeks after the draw was canceled.
A GAA club in County Down, Northern Ireland has had to abandon a lottery draw for a brand-new house. Local police told the Gaelic games club that they were potentiality breaching gambling laws by hosting the draw.
The prize was a three-bedroom, semi-detached property in a housing devolvement in Bishops Green, Banbridge. All members who paid a £100 membership fee were included in the draw, which had other rewards on offer. These consisted of £10,000 in cash, a brand new Honda CRV car, and a cruise in the Mediterranean.
The chairperson of the club, Rosemary Magee, and the chairperson of the Friends of Mayobridge GAC, Mairead Rooney, issued a joint statement following the lottery cancellation.
They said their aim was to raise funds to help with the development costs of new playing pitches and clubhouse facilities. These were intended to benefit both current and future members of the club.
Reasons for the cancellation
Magee and Rooney explained that: “The committee has recently received notification from the PSNI that there have been a small number of complaints about the draw arising from the antiquated and unsuitable legislation that currently governs this area, and that they will be compelled to open an investigation if the draw were to continue.”
They also said they are confident that the club has always put their best foot forward with this fundraising initiative.
The two chairpersons informed that anyone who paid the £100 membership fee is entitled to a refund. In view of the vast number of entries, it will take up to 14 days for every member to be contacted.
Other potential issues
The local police force in Northern Ireland, the PSNI, has been meeting with a number of sporting clubs in recent times regarding similar types of lottery fundraisers.
In the case of Mayobridge GAC, the PSNI had concerns about potential breaches of a number of portions in the current legislation. However, they never began a formal investigation into the matter.
In a statement on the incident, police said:
“This has again highlighted that this legislation is in urgent need of updating. However, we recognize that this was a genuine effort to raise funds.”
The Department for Communities in the region released a new information leaflet on the matter, titled “The Law on Lotteries in Northern Ireland”. It aims to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.