Running a Race Night is a very popular method of raising money for good causes in Scotland. As well as being a great form of entertainment, it also offers a very high profit margin after all your expenses have been deducted.
However, one of the most common questions that people ask when trying to book one is whether it is legal. There is a lot of misinformation going around on this subject, so hopefully this article will make the current legal situation clear.
Yes, running it is legal if you run it properly. When it is run according to the rules, it becomes a lottery as defined in the Lotteries and Amusement Act of 1976. The films become just an entertaining way of selecting a winning number at random and the tote ‘betting’ tickets are just chances in a lottery, where nobody knows which number will win.
A professional compere will ensure that the race films are picked at random, none of the actual runners on the film are named, and no ‘form’ (information about the runners) is given until all the bets have been placed. The films are then shown in their entirety after the betting has finished.
Another important point to remember is that it should not be the only form of entertainment on the night. So, you should also have a disco, quiz, food, presentation event, or a social meeting to ensure that the Race Night is not the main or sole inducement of the night.
Professional Race Night companies are governed by the Charities Act 1992 and have a set of rules, which professional, fund-raisers must follow. The company will have an agreement or legal contract with the organisations they support and will ensure that they are registered charities or are running the Race Night to raise money for a charitable cause.
Some organisers just hire films and try to do everything themselves. However, to ensure you always comply with the law and obtain maximum profits for your good cause, you should always hire a reputable company to run the Race Night for you. The company will provide a compere and all the equipment you need such as the projector, sound system, and races. All you have to do is take the bets and the money on the night.
Which Company To Choose?
If the company is good, then it will not cost you much more than doing it yourself and you will be able to call on their professional support and advice when running your Race Night event.
However, like all other businesses, there are good ones and bad ones out there. Also, new ones spring up all the time, only to vanish after a few months. So, make sure the company is reliable and has a good track record. Ask them to provide evidence that they have been trading for at least ten years and supply testimonials from previous customers.
If you do this, then you will have a perfectly legal, highly profitable, and very successful Race Night.