Monday, 5 April 2010

Email about online lotteries -

Dear Consumer Watchdog

A friend of mine has invited me to participate in a certain website that offers to buy lottery tickets worldwide in national lotteries on your behalf, no matter your geographical location -

Tickets are paid for by credit cards. I'm not yet sure whether to take part or not. Please assist in affirming the legality/legitimacy of this organization. Besides does Botswana outlaw purchasing lotteries outside the country? I would like to know if it would be legal to transfer my winnings from outside to Botswana.

Thank you.

Thanks for getting in touch.

Firstly the technical issues. The tax situation. As far as I know you would be liable for tax if you imported any winnings as they would probably be considered "earnings". Bringing money into and out of Botswana is perfectly legal but evading tax is certainly not.

However, you should face the inevitable. There won't BE any winnings.

Secondly the legitimacy of I don't trust them. They may be a valid company but the nature of the services they offer is very dubious. They appear to be registered in the UK but their credit card payments are processed in Cyprus which I find strange. Also, do you really trust a company of total strangers buy lottery tickets on your behalf?

Then there is the basic fact about a lottery, indeed about all gambling. The odds are stacked against you. For every Pula you give a lottery, you will, on average, get back less than P1. Lotteries are there to make money, whether for a private company or even a state lottery. They stress the jackpot winnings but very rarely actually disclose the average return. That's because the return is negative and they don't want you to know that.

Then there is the added issue of entering a lottery through a third party. If the margins are so small when you enter the lottery yourself they can only be much, MUCH slimmer if you do it through a third party who is taking some of your money. I checked the price of a UK lottery ticket and it is around P11. Buying this ticket through would cost you twice that price. Your net average return, if you win anything, is going to be around half what a Brit would get, even more negligible.

Remember though that this assumes you win something. The chances of that happening are virtually zero.

Finally, I wonder about the referral from your friend. This particular company rewards people for referring friends. It's not a real recommendation.

I really encourage you NOT to have anything to do with this company or indeed any other online lottery company.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is a long discussion of the legitimacy of this site here:

These suggest that doesn't try hard to show that it is legitimate - so you can make up your own mind!