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The UK comes fifth on the list, donating 25 percent. Spain and France donate just 2 percent apiece

Lottery sales in EU countries show that 82 billion euros are collected each year, on average. Although the majority of those revenues are supposed to benefit society, a new study from Unibet reveals that just 10 percent of lottery revenues are actually set aside specifically for charities or good causes.

Every week, billions of people around the world enter the lottery, hoping that maybe this time round they will finally hit the big jackpot. The lottery companies promise that a large proportion of their revenue are directed to charity. In reality, the quantity that actually ends up contributing to good causes varies greatly between countries and companies, and, in some cases, is surprisingly small.

The most generous European countries are Ireland and Portugal, both of which donate 31 percent of their lottery revenues to charity. The UK comes fifth on the list, donating 25 percent. Spain and France donate just 2 percent apiece, making them amongst the least generous in Europe.

The data for this research, commissioned by Unibet, was collected from individual lottery and gambling operators in October 2015. View the full research here.

Lottery income is also distributed differently within each European country. In the UK, for example, an average 46 percent of proceeds are returned to players, and 25 percent goes to charity. The Netherlands, meanwhile, has four major lottery companies, three of which distribute 50 percent of revenues to charity, and 30 percent to the players' remuneration. However, a fourth company returns 69 percent back to the players and the rest directly to the Treasury coffers.

The largest charity beneficiaries of European lottery proceeds are sports and various social projects. For example, 80 percent of the French national sports development centre budget is funded by lottery revenues. In the UK, lottery funds were shared as follows: health, education, environment and charitable causes (40%), sport (20%), the arts (20%), and heritage (20%).

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About the study

The data used in the study was collected directly from the National Lotteries in different countries and lottery companies in October 2015. The study can be read in its entirety here:

About Unibet

Unibet is one of the largest online gambling operators in Europe; offering sports betting, casino games, bingo and poker to over 10.3 million registered customers in 21 languages and addresses, including,,,,,,,,,, and

For further information contact Luke Rees on 0800 019 6813.

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