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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 August, 2004, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Should lottery rules for prisoners be changed?
Lottery balls
A man serving a life sentence for attempted rape has won 7m in Saturday's Lotto Extra.

Lorworth Hoare, a category D prisoner at Leyhill open prison, had been released to a Middlesbrough bail hostel when he won the prize.

Under Home Office guidelines, prisoners in open conditions, on a day release, or community project, are allowed to play the lottery.

Hoare is nearing the end of his sentence, after being jailed in 1989 for a number of sex attacks, but won't be able to collect his money until he has been released.

Should the rules allowing prisoners to play the lottery change? What should be done with the winnings? Should Hoare be allowed to keep the money?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This topic was suggested by Tony Barker from the UK:
Is it right for convicted criminals to play the lottery?

So vote with your feet - don't play.
Angie, UK

What a fuss about nothing. Of course he's entitled to keep money he won legally. What should really be the issue here is whether someone serving a life sentence should be let out at all
Harold Torode, Plymouth, UK

Well why doesn't he just pay for his stay in prison? After all I pay my taxes that pays for him to stay in prison.
Andy H, London, UK

He won the money legally and did not break any laws. It's a shame someone so evil gets so lucky but that's life. You simply can't turn round and try and change laws or come up with a new rule just because you don't like what you see. Go to court and try and get him to pay compensation to his victims. That is the correct way to get his money off him.
Anon, UK

As soon as I read Tessa Jowells comment that "the government might also intervene in Hoare's case to make sure his money went to victims" I knew that precisely the opposite will happen. That's just more hot air and empty words from the government. We all know that, in this terminally politically correct country, this man will be allowed to keep his money and live happily ever after.
Ray, Rotherham, UK

Typical English jealousy disguised as socially responsible angst. It's this same mentality that sees some people scratching cars they themselves cannot afford. This man has broken no laws in winning. More, I would suggest that somebody in Camelot has and he may have a breach of privacy/contract case against him or her. To the people suggesting he should pay his cost of keep, why? We don't expect this from any other convicted criminals. Likewise, where do you stop? Benefit recipients should repay all benefits if the win? Yes it sucks, but it's a Lottery. Get over it.
Bill, Limassol, Cyprus - Ex Pat

It is not fair. It's a lottery!
Graham, UK

Of course he shouldn't be allowed to win the Lottery. Convicted criminals shouldn't be allowed to profit from any lottery/quiz show. Do-gooders who think it's perfectly alright make me furious! I think if you are a criminal you should have all your rights taken away to show that you are not equal to the law abiding majority. Take away this man's winnings immediately and give it to charity.
Karen, Southend-on-Sea, England

This guy has done his time. He was about to be released and should be left alone. It's his good fortune to have won the Lotto. Leave him alone.
Andrew, London

I can't believe the lottery's organisers are letting him keep the money. He shouldn't even have been allowed to buy a ticket. Once a person commits a crime and is convicted of that crime, they waive their rights to freedom and the privileges that honest people take for granted, and that includes the lottery. This is what's wrong with the world. What's so bad about using that money to feed and heal the starving, dying people of Africa, or even London's "Cardboard City"? Abolish the National Lottery. From giving money to useless, nonsensical "art" projects to this slap in the face of human decency, it's a load of nonsense.
Gregg, Wigan, England

Should we stop already-rich people playing as well?
Steve, Fife
Why does he deserve to be any less 'lucky' in winning than anyone else? If we start to pick and choose who 'deserves' to win, doesn't that defeat it being a Lottery? Also, he's committed crimes and he's doing the time for them. That's what the law if for. Should we stop already-rich people playing as well? What about giving lottery tickets out to homeless folk or disabled folk? It's luck.
Steve, Fife

Convicted criminals should not be eligible to win the lottery. This man's victims should take a class action suit and sue him for the total sum of his winnings to be shared equally among them.
Jeanne, Norwich, UK

Prisoners, criminals and all other undeserving types should be allowed to keep their winnings to prove to the rest of us that God really does not exist.
Rob Lee, Bracknell, UK

What is all the fuss about - so a sex offender won the lottery - so what? Are people proposing that criminals should not be able to buy lottery tickets - perhaps he should also have "rapist" branded on his forehead ?
Dave Mailer, Bristol, UK

Money can't make up for such an assault
Christy, Newcastle, UK
I don't see why someone shouldn't be allowed to play. Evidently he was considered fit to be let out to a bail hostel. Unless sentencing is to be changed so that someone's sentence includes 'never allowed anything good, ever', it seems silly to try to block them from playing the Lottery. As for donating the money - why? We're told time after time that money can't make up for such an assault, and these took place a long time ago. Sounds like mercenary self-interest to me.
Christy, Newcastle, UK

It does seem somewhat of a paradox that fines are used as a punishment for lesser crimes and financial compensation is used for those wrongly convicted yet this man is allowed to keep the money when he's released.
Robert, Sheffield, UK

This man has been nothing but a drain on society with his appalling series of crimes. As a prisoner he shouldn't have been in a position to be able to win the money in the first place, and of course he shouldn't be allowed to keep it. Why do the criminals always seem to have more rights than the victims in this country?
Helen, London, UK

Allowing prisoners to gamble is not exactly the most sensible route to rehabilitation.
Dean, Bristol, UK

Yes, he should be able to keep it. He was allowed to buy to the ticket and took his chances along with everyone else. How on earth would stopping those on bail from buying tickets be policed? What annoys me is the media frenzy that has been whipped up over this. It simply does not deserve to be news. Do the victims of his crimes really need to be reminded of their suffering in such a public manner? I'd imagine they have enough to contend with already with dealing with this in private.
Jo, London

Lottery privileges should be revoked for prisoners of such serious crimes - along with TVs in cells
Nick, Kent
It is absolutely abhorrent that someone such as this who has a blatant disregard for the law and other peoples right to safety should be rewarded in such a way. To commit a crime like this is to forfeit one's human rights and should therefore forfeit all other of life's 'niceties'. It is thoroughly disgusting. In a word, yes, lottery privileges should be revoked for prisoners of such serious crimes - along with TVs in cells etc. What right do these people have to enjoy life when they have ruined some many other's lives?
Nick, Kent

The problem with the lottery is that you can't decide who wins your money. They could be good or bad, deserving or not - it's a lottery. That's why its called a lottery. If you want something that's fair, then give your money to charity.
Richard, Munich

I'm struggling with this one. I suppose he has a right like everyone else to buy a ticket and it has been his good fortune that he has won it, but it doesn't seem right. He's committed a crime and yet he's got a fortune and the high life to look forward to when he gets out, when a lot of hard working people get nothing. I think my conclusion would be that if you are a prisoner, open conditions or not, then you shouldn't be allowed to purchase a ticket.
Andrea, UK

He should be made to pay the prison service every penny it has cost to keep him in jail. then what is left over should be given to a rape charity.
William Dryden, UK

I think it's totally disgusting that a convicted criminal has the same rights as me
Hayley, Greenhithe, Kent, UK
I think it's totally disgusting that a convicted criminal has the same rights as me and many other law abiding citizens and can go ahead and buy a lottery ticket - and win! It's terrible. He shouldn't have any rights, at least not whilst he is serving a sentence. He should be made to donate the money rape charities.
Hayley, Greenhithe, Kent, UK

The lottery is gambling and therefore immoral and should not be sponsored and encouraged by any democratic Government. Secondly, it's a farce that a prisoner serving time can be made a millionaire by a Government sponsored gambling business.
Peter Scadding, Bristol

Most of the comments below are typical of the tabloid reading public, and, in the main part are unbalanced and unreasonable. This man has clearly done nothing wrong in entering the National Lottery, and broken no laws or guidelines. He is perfectly entitled to his win regardless of his past behaviour. The suggestion that rules should be retrospectively changed to deprive him from his winnings is not only naive, but potentially dangerous in terms of the precedent that it would set.
Vaughan Smith, Gloucester, England

I am an honest law abiding citizen and play the lottery in hope of paying off my mortgage and sizeable student debts. I do find it a bit annoying that a convicted rapist can win the jackpot that would otherwise have gone to someone like me or someone more deserving. Of course he deserved to win, you pay for a ticket and you get the chance to win. Whether or not he should have been out of prison and able to buy a ticket is a different matter... I think he should be made to give a sizable proportion to his victims in compensation and then start paying for his accommodation so that it is at his expense and not ours.

While out he is free to do anything which is lawful, and the winning are his
Andrew, London
This man was being prepared for release, as all non-murder lifers are, by periods of weekend release. While out he is free to do anything which is lawful, and the winning are his. As for paying for his 'keep' no prisoner is called on to do so, and as for compensating his victim, I sympathise, but limitation has expired.
Andrew, London

This man has done nothing wrong here - Home Office rules do not prevent him from playing the lottery and he's just been luckier than the rest of us. Whether someone serving a life sentence should be allowed to play is a different matter - you can't blame this man and want to take his rightfully won money away just because there weren't any preventative rules in place. Whether a man given a life sentence should be out on day release only 15 years into his sentence is also a different subject. However, I hope the Home Office use this opportunity to tighten certain rules and his victims sue the pants off him!
Jenni, Cambridge

Any person should be able to play the lottery. If a criminal has served their time for his / her crimes then they should not be prejudiced against in any way, or are we presuming that offenders are never rehabilitated? More to the point is that if life imprisonment really did mean for life, as it should, then this man would never be able to spend any winnings and the point would be moot.
josie, UK

I know this is slightly off topic but what the hell is a rapist serving a life-sentence doing out on day release ?!! I think that that is, perhaps, a more important question which needs answering.
Jane, London, UK

So are we to have a "worthy citizen" test before being granted a lottery ticket? I have read some garbage spouted from the knee-jerk masses over the years on this forum but this one takes the cake.

Prisoners should not be allowed to play - it brings undesirable fun into their lives
Lada, Prague, Czech
The point of imprisonment is to take away some fun from criminal's life (otherwise criminals would not need to stay in prison). The main purpose of gambling or playing is not winning, but the fun of the game itself. People do not go to casino to win, they go there to enjoy themselves by playing. This is why prisoners should not be allowed to play - it brings undesirable fun into their lives.
Lada, Prague, Czech

I think that, if a person convicted of a crime should win anything in a lottery, the winnings should go to that convicted person's victim(s). It is only fair to the victim, whose life will never be the same.
Chris, Toronto, Canada

Who cares about whether he should be able to play the lottery, the most important thing is that in 1989 when he was sentenced the judge said: "Every moment you are at liberty some woman is at risk." Can I ask why, if this is the case he being released? What a joke the criminal justice system in this country is. It's frightening to think that someone with his past is going to be let out. Hopefully his victims will sue him for every single penny of his winnings, for the crimes he's committed against them.
Neil, Edinburgh

I think he should be forced to repay the prison system for supporting him all those years.
Gail , Albany, NY US

I thought people were entitled to anonymity if they one the lottery. Surely Mr Hoare did not want the publicity? If we are going to restrict criminals from playing the lottery, what level of crime will they have to have committed and will they be allowed to play after their sentence has been served?
Richard, Redditch

I hope this convicted sex attacker takes his millions and emigrates
Martin, England
If this prisoner hadn't won then half of his 1 would have gone to good causes. Statistically speaking, over a period of time, prisoners playing the lottery will give more money to good causes than they win. Why should we stop prisoners voluntarily indirectly giving money to charity because they have a chance of winning several million? Quite frankly, I hope this convicted sex attacker takes his millions and emigrates.
Martin, England

Prisoners should be imprisoned without any rights whatsoever including no purchasing rights. They are criminals and should be treated as such.
Sian Morgan, UK

Just goes to show that money is the root of all evil! I thought the idea of prison was to be denied privileges which law abiding people take for granted?
Phil, Telscombe Cliffs, England

Only nice people (that help old ladies cross the street) should be allowed to win the lotto!
Bob, Manchester

All the assets of criminals should be available for defraying the cost to society of their crime
Barrie, Harlow, UK
In general, I think all the assets of criminals should be available for defraying the cost to society of their crime, including compensation of victims, cost of imprisonment or any other punishment or rehabilitation, cost of prosecution, and cost of police effort in apprehending them. If that leaves them with nothing, so be it.
Barrie, Harlow, UK

You must be joking. What an absurd question. Let's be honest about this, the question is really aimed at those unfortunate persons who can't quite grasp that the Lottery is a very simple game of chance and is not to be influenced by the supposed good or bad character of its participants. A convicted prisoner on day release is not breaking the law should he legitimately take part in this game or any other.
Dion Swift, Birmingham

I don't find any problem with him winning the lottery at all it's all up to chance. The true question is what why was a Serial Rapist allowed out of prison in the first place?
Tom, UK

Hoare should not have access to his winnings but they should either go to the government to pay for keeping him in prison or to his victims.
Kate Simmons, Staines, England

Camelot should revoke the payment
Ian McGrath, London, England

This appalling incident serves to demonstrate how foolish we all are in agreeing, every time we play the lottery, to the random redistribution of our money. Camelot should revoke the payment (which doubtless it is entitled to do on some basis) and redistribute the money to rape counselling charities. This individual deserves no "It's just a game of chance" sympathy. The thought of what this man could get up to on the outside with 7 million behind him is too frightening to contemplate.
Ian McGrath, London, England

I think he should be charged about 7million pounds for his rent for the past 15 years, give back to the taxpayers.
Mark, London

If you won several million pounds but couldn't touch it because you were in prison, don't you think that would make life inside even harder. I would like to see his victim sue him for suffering, though - now that it is worth her while.
Malcolm, England

There is no way this man should be allowed to keep his winnings. He should have to pay most in compensation to his victim and the rest to the state as payback for all the money we taxpayers have forked out for his stay in prison. Where did he get the money to buy the ticket? Presumably pocket money from the state anyway. I was abused as a child and not only is it insulting that this man is allowed to stay in a bail hostel with ready access to the public, but for him to spend the rest of his life in luxury while his victim suffers is the ultimate insult.
Helen, Leeds, UK

Good on you Helen from Leeds - my sentiments exactly - he most definitely should not be allowed to keep the money. It is an insult to all victims of all crimes that he can now live the life of Riley after the disgusting things he has done. And life should be life - not a few years. NO NO NO to him receiving the money
Lyn Edwards, UK

Criminals being allowed to play the Lottery? Whatever next - criminals in the House of Lords?
Alan, Chichester, UK

All prisoners should be able to play the lottery - they are contributing to the good causes and they can compensate their victims with all their winnings should they win.
Graham Yates, Bolton, UK

I thought that the point of prison was loss of liberty
Jon S, Wirral, UK

I thought that the point of prison was loss of liberty. If not what is the point in sending anybody through the court system? You can not blame the individual involved but the system must be reviewed. The Home Secretary must be accountable.
Jon S, Wirral, UK

Surely the whole point of the lottery is that it's a game of chance? That means you can't guarantee that the people who win will be kind, charitable and deserving. It isn't the first time that somebody with a criminal conviction has won. I can't imagine that William Hill or Mecca Bingo ask to see a clean criminal record before they let you gamble, so why should Camelot?
Helen, Bradford, UK

If this man was in prison for a "white collar" crime, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Prisoners in open conditions should be allowed to play it, but serial rapists serving life shouldn't be released on bail or be in open centres in the first place.
Rosa, London

I see the brain dead Sun reader types are out in force already. If the Lottery is legal it should be legal for anyone over the age of 18 whom so wishes to play it. How are you going to stop them anyway?
Graeme, London

The lottery is a tax on the ignorant. Who's calling it a privilege?
John, Ossining, USA

The prisoner should pay his lottery winnings to his victims
Pat Danvers, Benfleet, England

I think the rules should be changed a.s.a.p. and in this particular case the prisoner should pay his lottery winnings to his victims.
Pat Danvers, Benfleet England

Of course he should be allowed to keep it. If he had been a millionaire before he went into prison no one would have batted an eyelid or made comments about him giving 75% of it away. It's a shame that someone like him had to win it but he bought his ticket and took his chance same as everyone else. It'll be a fair while until he can spend it anyway. People take too much of other people's business upon themselves sometimes.
Sarah JC, Epsom, Surrey

Yes of course prisoners should be allowed to play the lottery. Like other lottery players, most prisoners win little or nothing. Why should the law prevent them contributing to society in this way?
Andrew Smith, Epsom, UK

Maybe now Hoare can pay for his own keep rather than being a burden on the taxpayer? The more one hears of prison the more it sounds like a holiday camp!
Andy D, Oxford UK

When I read things like this guy winning millions, it makes me think there can't be a God. There simply can't be one!
Steve Fricker, Warsash, UK

Typical media hype! Is it because he is in jail - or because it's rape?
Lynas Murdoch, Leven, Fife

Typical media hype! Is it because he is in jail - or because it's rape? Would it make a difference (to the media and the shouters) if he were in jail for a motoring offence, or for embezzlement? You bet it would - it wouldn't make as good headlines. And where do we stop? Those in jail for one month, one year, five years?
Lynas Murdoch, Leven, Fife

If this man had any remorse of what he has done he would give all the money he has won to Rape Crisis. However since he has sex crimes from 1973 to 1989 I find this very unlikely. It frightens me now that this man has now been placed in the community in which I live and on the streets that I may walk and still be a threat to women of all ages. Surely this is more disturbing than him having a large amount of money.
Natalie, Middlesbrough

The fact that convicted criminals are winning Millions of Pounds is pathetic, especially when the crimes committed are of such a violent and indecent nature. The law should be changed to disallow such individuals from playing the lottery. In this instance the money should have gone towards a charity to help innocent people who are struggling in life.
Baz Singh, Newcastle, England

I, for one, will no longer be playing the lottery
Mark Thomas, London

I, for one, will no longer be playing the lottery. Why should my money go to dangerous criminals? This man should never be released from prison as he is obviously a threat to women.
Mark Thomas, London

I think it's disgusting that he'll be allowed to keep it. What is this country coming to. Prison is prison and as I understood it meant loss of all privileges. Why don't we start paying them to stay.
Lee, Birkdale

This monster should have never been allowed to buy ticket. He should be made to pay the prison service for his time in prison and the rest of the money should be given to his victim for the horrors he put her through.
Shaun, South Shields, England

I feel that if the individual is still serving his sentence, then the victims should be able to claim a percentage of the winnings, the Prison service should claim for "board and keep" and the judicial service should claim for the costs of the case. Although the money is not connected to the crime or the punishment, the criminal should not be able to profit from their time in prison - through whatever means.
Tania, Epsom Surrey

He should be made to pay all of his victim's compensation, all court fees his crimes have incurred, the cost of his stay at HMS & at least 40% of his winnings should go to victim support, Rape and Abuse organisations.
Sara, Doncaster, UK

No, all prisoners should be denied the privileges available to law abiding citizens.
Richard, Orpington, Kent

I'm more concerned about the fact this guy was given a life sentence in 1989, and now, 15 years later he's released on bail!
Richard, UK

Is it right for anyone to play the lottery? It creates false hope, disproportionately affects the poor and can lead to more serious gambling addictions. I suspect in this case the "good causes" have done pretty well out of those detained at Her Majesty's pleasure.
Michael, York, UK

It will be interesting to see if Hoare will now be charged, by the Home Secretary, for his board and lodgings at HMS!
Barbara, Birmingham, UK

This should enable his victim(s)to sue him for damages and personal injury, trauma etc..
Ian, Bristol

No in a word. The fact the person is having their freedom deprived is the punishment for the crime. If they win when inside they can't spend it - so what's the problem? If someone wins who WAS a prisoner nobody raises an eyebrow - this is just tabloid fodder served up to the knee jerk masses. I'm more concerned at the profits Camelot makes which should be going to good causes rather then the type of people winning. It is after all a game of chance - and who are we to judge when the person that takes that chance somehow doesn't fit in with who we think should or shouldn't win?
Jock, Blackwood, Gwent

For as long as criminals stand the same chance as others I don't see why not. After all they are in jail to pay for what they done, and the amount of money they win should not influence their permanence in jail (if justice is real justice).
Frank, UK

How about we let the criminals continue to play, but only on the understanding that 75% of any winnings are to be donated to the victims and their families?
Pete, Stoke, UK

Lottery winner is sent to prison
06 Jul 04  |  Norfolk
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