Scottish City Nixes Booze as Lottery Prizes at Schools

Posted on: October 2, 2023, 07:40h. 

Last updated on: October 2, 2023, 01:01h.

Until now, schools in Glasgow, Scotland, including those equivalent to U.S. high schools, could give away booze as lottery prizes in order to raise funds. In a move that won’t surprise many, liquor is now off the menu at fundraising events, which means schools are going to have to be more creative moving forward.

City Chambers and George Square in Glasgow, Scotland
City Chambers and George Square in Glasgow, Scotland. The Glasgow City Council is taking a hardline stance against alcohol at its schools. (Image: Pinterest)

Across the globe, schools use different fundraising methods to send their students on trips, buy equipment and more. From candy and magazine sales to raffles, the fundraisers are a proven solution to fill an economic gap.

In Scotland, as in other locations, lotteries are a common method. There, tombolas, lottery-style raffles, have historically offered bottles of wine and other alcohol among the list of potential prizes.

Not anymore.

The Glasgow City Council has implemented a total ban on the use of alcohol as a tombola prize at any education center, according to the BBC. The council believes that a school is not the appropriate place to “normalize” alcohol consumption. However, there may be a loophole.

OK To Drink, Just Not on Campus

Glasgow previously allowed alcohol as tombola prizes, provided the raffle holder requested and received a temporary license. Now, however, the city is taking a different stance, even though it isn’t completely illegal for minors to drink certain types of alcohol.

UK law prohibits anyone under 18 from buying or consuming alcohol. However, 16- and 17-year-olds, when accompanied by an adult at a restaurant, can drink if the alcohol (only beer, wine or cider) is part of a meal. In addition, according to the website, anyone from 5 to 17 can drink at home or on private premises.

The residents of Glasgow were already made aware of the change. It’s still causing consternation, though, especially considering not all cities in Scotland are following the capital city’s lead.

Even after Glasgow had implemented its ban, other cities were still holding tombolas with alcohol as prizes. This past May, it paid off for a mother in Stockport in Greater Manchester.

She purchased a ticket for a tombola drawing at her daughter’s school for 50 pence (about US$1.20) and won a bottle of wine. Later, after doing a little investigating, she learned that the wine had real market value and she sold it for £185 (US$225) in an online auction.

Getting Around the Ban

The teetotalers love the ban, but not everyone is happy. The BBC quoted several people who spoke out against the complete ban and who thought it went too far.

Instead, they believe the Glasgow City Council should adopt a case-by-case approach. One believes that alcohol should be part of tombolas, and would like to see the city council reverse course.

It may not have to. The way the ban reads, the city council prohibits alcohol “on their premises,” according to the BBC article. Therefore, the solution is simple – if a Glasgow school’s chess club wants to raise funds through tombolas that raffle alcohol, hold the gathering off campus.