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Press Release: London, 5 September 2008 – Couple seeking inventive way to sell their £515k home choose to auction it for less than £25k.

Essex couple Sam and David Donaldson want to start a new life in Australia but have struggled to sell their luxury £515k home. They ruled-out dropping the price because the credit crunch has caused the market to come to standstill.

Sam and David had initially thought of raffling their home but lawyers advised them that such schemes were illegal, “We were shocked that the BBC recently featured a Devon couple raffling a property for £25 per ticket,” says Sam. “We empathise with their desperation to sell, but it seems they may have been ill-advised.”

The Devon property raffle does not appear to comply with the requirements of the Gambling Act, 2005.

“I’m amazed the BBC so openly promoted this raffle without confirming its legality,” continues Mrs Donaldson, “especially when you consider the BBC’s website features a story about a previous property raffle that resulted in a couple being arrested on suspicion of breaching the Lottery and Gambling Act.”

Antoinette Jucker, a gambling law expert with Pinsent Masons law firm, believes the competition is against the law. "I think this is an illegal lottery. The Gambling Commission should take an interest in this," she says. "If they don't do anything, others will do the same thing, raffling houses or cars or anything else that they're struggling to sell."

To avoid the illegal lottery trap Sam and David opted to use a lowest unique bid auction service ( that complies with the guidance set out by the Gambling Commission.

People wishing to bid will be charged £97 to secure a 'seat' to access the auction, which allows them to place up to 220 bids. No money is taken until 15 days before the auction.

Bidders will need to apply skill and strategy to compete for the Essex property. The successful bid will be anything between 1 pence and £25K, which is less than 5% of the property’s value.

On completion of the sale Sam and David will receive the full £515K value of the property and won't have any commission or service fee to pay as the £97 'seat' charge is used to make up the difference between the auction costs and the very low amount paid by the winning bidder.

For further information, images and interviews please contact:

Sami McCabe
m: +44 (0) 7789 777 440
t: +44 (0) 20 8849 8180

Editors’ notes:

• Legal website article specific to the Devon property raffle: house raffle is probably illegal, says gambling law expert -

• Relevant Gambling Commission links:

• Can I sell my home, for my own benefit, through a lottery rather than using an estate agent? -

• Guidance on Prize Competitions and Free Draws -

• Lowest Unique Bid auctions aka Reverse auctions, Frequently Asked Questions, June 2008 -

• The BBC Breakfast and the Devon property (Video & Text) -

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