The Gambling Act 2005 (Operating Licence Conditions) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 will apply the same conditions to betting on EuroMillions draws to those that already apply in the case of betting on The National Lottery in the UK.
Gambling operators that continue to offer bets on EuroMillions draws beyond 6 April will be in breach of their licensing conditions, under the new rules.
In a July 2017 impact assessment on the then proposed changes in the law, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said betting on EuroMillions draws outside the UK is "clearly contrary to the spirit" of section 95 of the Gambling Act of 2005. That section prohibits betting operators from accepting bets on the outcome of The National Lottery and on the EuroMillions UK draw.
Where bets can be placed on EuroMillions draws outside the UK it also "poses a potential threat to good cause returns", DCMS said at the time. However, it admitted that the "current evidence base is not conclusive on the future impact on lottery revenues (and therefore the returns to good causes) attributable to betting on lotteries".
Despite this, it said a ban on offering bets on "National Lottery outcomes", including a UK EuroMillions draw, was "justifiable on both a principled and precautionary basis".
However, there have been objections raised within the gambling industry against any change in the law.
Lottoland, one operator that offers consumers the chance to bet on the outcome of lotteries around the world, presented evidence to the government which it said showed that its presence in the market "has had no effect on UK EuroMillions ticket sales". That evidence was summarised in a November 2017 paper that DCMS issued in response to feedback received to an earlier consultation on changing the law.
Nigel Birrell, chief executive of Lottoland, said the move to ban operators from taking bets on EuroMillions draws "sets a dangerous precedent for policy-making on the basis of no evidence" and "will do nothing but stifle innovation in the sector", according to a report in the December edition of Online Gambling Lawyer (OGL).
Birrell said Lottoland would review its options before deciding what steps to take in response to the forthcoming changes, according to the OGL report. Out-Law.com has asked Lottoland for an update on its position in light of the publication of the new regulations.
"It is a dangerous precedent to have mandatory conditions added to operating licences issued under the Gambling Act 2005, where there is no real evidence to support the changes," said Christopher Rees-Gay of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, an expert in gambling licensing laws. "As long as the consumer is fully informed, then it should be a decision of the consumer to decide whether or not they play a lottery or to bet on it."