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Jewish lottery fiasco

by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2006-05-05

Jewish Lottery

Jewish Lottery

A Jewish lottery that launched last year with the aim of raising money for Jewish schools and other community projects has been slammed for closing its service and not communicating with those who paid in advance.

At the time of its launch, the Jewish Education Lottery was bullish in its claims and ambitions to benefit the community. It claimed that it would be donating 40p from every £1 ticket which would go to a choice of 15 charities.

Totally plc, publishers of The Jewish News and Totally Jewish were involved with the first prize draw last December. At the time, managing director of Totally plc, Dan Assor said: "It was an honour to be a part of this inaugural draw which will be benefiting the Jewish community in so many ways."

That draw scooped a lucky player £10,000 though at the time they remained anonymous about their win.

Several other draws took place and then the Jewish Lottery ceased communicating its service with players online via its site or through their network of sellers.

While Totally plc were not involved in the management of this Jewish Lottery, a previous Jewish Lottery game in which they promoted and were involved in along with Jewish Care also ceased to continue.

According to a report in the Jewish Chronicle, Jewish Lottery founder Akiva Adler put the blame at credit card processing company Barclays for treating it like gambling.

"We stopped operating because Barclays decided that our lottery was a form of gambling and there were rules against using credit cards,” said Adler. "We are not a gambling company but an initiative for the community."

Adler claimed that he approached other banks to process credit cards but could not find a UK company to do so and is now considering off-shore options.

"We had no choice but to suspend our operations," he added.

Adler said he would offer refunds to those who paid in advance or allow the subscriptions to continue should the Jewish Lottery start again.