PLANS for a Redditch lottery, with a top prize of £25,000, have been approved by the borough council despite fierce opposition.
Councillors voted 16-10 in favour of introducing the scheme, which has been piloted by Aylesbury Vale District Council, after a fiery debate at the Town Hall on whether it was morally correct to deliver another gambling service to Redditch.
Labour Leader Coun Bill Hartnett (Church Hill) said: “We have thought long and hard about this but we have decided it’s just not a good idea.
“Aylesbury, who have been running this type of lottery for three years, have had just two winners of the jackpot prize.
“There are enough ways to play the lottery already and we should be safeguarding children and making sure they don’t start gambling from an early age.”
Anyone aged 16 or over will be able to buy a ticket and this proved to to be the main concern for Labour.
Coun Tom Baker-Price (Con, Headless Cross & Oakenshaw) hit back saying if just three per-cent of eligible people took it up the lottery could produce up to £53,000 for good causes each year.
He said: “I find the hypocrisy of it all completely mad.
“Labour’s deregulation of gambling in 2005 is one of the reasons we are are in this black hole today.
“It is not forced on anyone, people have a choice, and they can decide if they want to get involved.
“This is a great opportunity for Redditch and we should be focusing on the fact it will bring much needed funds to local charities.”
50p from each ticket sold will go to a charity in the local area.
However Coun Pat Witherspoon (Lab, Church Hill) said: “I think it is diabolical that we are proposing a lottery in times of such deprivation.
“Wealthy people do not buy lottery tickets, it is once again poor people who will lose out.”
The lottery is expected to be rolled out within the next 12 months and will be run by management company Gatherswell Ltd.
It will be drawn once a week with a top prize of £25,000 – at odds of a million to one – for matching the six numbers.
Five numbers win £2,000, four win £250, three win £25 and two win three free tickets.