Sport Lottery Funding

Sport Lottery Funding
Prepared by  Prepared by: Dr Ralph Richards, Senior Research Consultant, Clearinghouse for Sport, Sport Australia
evaluated by  Evaluation by: Nadine Cohen, Chief Executive Officer, Netball Foundation (April 2016)
Reviewed by  Reviewed by network: Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN)
Last updated  Last updated: 9 January 2019
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Sport Lottery Funding
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National Lottery funding for sport (as one of several 'worthy causes') is an established practice in many countries.

Popular lottery systems used internationally for the purpose of sports funding may incorporate different formats: (1) a finite number of tickets to be sold prior to a prize draw; (2) a regular (usually weekly) game, with the prize draw irrespective of the number of tickets sold; (3) instant prizes identified at the point of ticket sale (e.g. scratch and win), (4) selection of multiple winning teams from a week’s sport fixtures, with a points-based scoring system determining the prize pool (e.g. ‘football pools’) and; (5) consumers selecting a set of numbers from a given matrix of numbers (or the purchase of a randomly selected set of numbers) to enter a random draw of numbers from the given matrix.

The rationale for directing proceeds (part/all) from a National Lottery to sport has generally focused on four main themes: (1) the desire to provide long-term financial security for national sporting associations; (2) the desire to assist Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games organisations with their fundraising; (3) the desire to assist some of the ‘lesser known’ sports with funding that is critical to their development; and (4) the desire to increase the capacity of grassroots sports to deliver a number of personal and social benefits (e.g. health outcomes, inclusion, community cohesion).

There is also opposition to National Lotteries; general concerns include: (1) jurisdiction oversight; (2) fund priorities; and (3) ethical concerns related to the promotion of gambling in sport and gambling more generally. 

Key Messages 


National lottery funding for sport is an established practice internationally, with dedicated proceeds in many countries going to support government investment in sport (i.e. events, infrastructure, programs, athletes).


A strong argument used when promoting National Lottery contributions to sport is the input from non-government dependant revenue streams.


The potential impact of lottery funding as a contributor to enhancing international competitiveness in sport is best illustrated by the more recent success of the United Kingdom (Team GB) at Olympic and Paralympic Games since the introduction of National Lottery contributions to sport funding in 1997.


Any form of gambling (legal or otherwise) presents potential risks that some degree of social or personal harm may result.

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