Millions across the UK participate in office sweepstakes across the country every year in April when the Grand National comes around.

But those who work from home are being warned over a little-known quirk of gambling law means if due to the pandemic entrants are working from home or remotely, the contest is illegal. 

Gambling regulation experts Poppleston Allen are on hand to talk through how to organise a sweepstake whilst staying on the right side of the law. 

The law firm is sharing a warning with workers as the Aintree race pulls in casual punters every year with 2022 looking to be no different and one of the most likely events for an office sweepstake.

In pre-Covid times there was little risk involved in such a contest, other than perhaps an excess of workplace rivalry, especially given the event’s propensity for surprises and upsets.

Warning to workers over office sweepstakes for the Grand National

However, Richard Bradley, associate solicitor and gambling regulation expert at Poppleston Allen said: “While formal gambling activity is heavily regulated by the Gambling Commission, there is an exception designed to allow the general public to have a bit of fun by taking part in what is officially called a work lottery.”

He added: “But what many people may not realise is that the rules are very clear in that you can only sell physical tickets and all players must work in the same office – contests running across different office locations of the same company are not allowed.

“Therefore, if the pandemic has led to staff working from other offices or largely working from home, extra care needs to be taken when running a Grand National sweepstake. Organisers, whether employers or employees, must make sure they do not sell any tickets via email or over the phone. Any staff member who wants to play must visit the office and buy a physical ticket. If these rules aren’t followed, organisers and players would technically be involved in illegal gambling.”