CEO sentenced to three months for misusing charity lottery funds

CEO sentenced to three months for misusing charity lottery funds

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A man has been sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for depriving a charity of £285,000 in profits from a lottery run on its behalf.

Simon Rydings, 50, served as CEO of Capen Limited, which operated several charity lotteries, including one run on behalf of the Sheffield Hospitals Charity. In a case prosecuted by the Gambling Commission, Birmingham Magistrates’ Court heard that Rydings had failed to pass the money on to the charity.

Rydings admitted to misusing lottery proceeds (as defined under the Gambling Act 2005) between 1st January 2018 and 31st March 2020. He had apparently used the money to cover administrative costs, to the point where he was unable to pay the full amount back to the charity.

Rydings will now have to pay £1,000 compensation to the charity within 18 months of being released from prison.

Gambling Commission Executive Director Helen Venn said that Rydings had “completely failed” in his duties as the CEO of a licensed company and that he was now “paying the price.”

Venn commented: “Lotteries in this country can only be run for good causes — charities and other non-commercial organisations who run lotteries rely heavily on the income they receive from lotteries to support the important work they do.”

She further reiterated that the Gambling Commission would “not hesitate to take action against individuals who misuse funds in the way Rydings did.”

In a statement published on the Sheffield Hospitals Charity website, CEO Gareth Aston commented: “We are deeply upset and saddened by the events which have taken place. As a charity, our biggest responsibility and priority is to assist our beneficiaries, and we rely on the wonderful support of the charity to be able to achieve that.

“We welcome the outcome of the case and we will do everything within our power to recover the outstanding funds.”

Although the statement on the website makes it clear that Capen was fully licensed by the Gambling Commission and had passed security checks, Rydings’ company had in fact had its licence suspended last December. 

At the time, the Gambling Commission expressed concerns that “activities may have been carried out contrary to the Gambling Act, not in accordance with a condition of their licence and that the licensee may be unsuitable to carry on the licensed activities.”

The Gambling Commission is currently in the process of reviewing applications for the fourth National Lottery licence, with a decision expected to be reached early next year. Although full details are not publicly available, there is speculation that bids have come in from Italian operator Sisal, Europe-wide operator Sazka and India’s Sugal & Damani, as well as from current operator Camelot, which has managed the lottery since its inception in 1994.

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