AN investigation has been launched after a couple kept over £600,000 worth of ticket sales from a controversial raffle of their £3m luxury Ringwood house.
The Advertising Standards Authority has received 14 complaints about Martin and Sharon Beresford’s Win a Mega Home competition, its investigations manager Andrew Bruce said in an interview with the BBC. He added the probe was in its “early stages”.
As reported in the A&T, there was an outcry over the Beresfords’ contest, which saw them offer their contemporary property as the top prize and an Aston Martin supercar for second place. Entrants had to pay £25 for a ticket and answer a question.
However, after the deadline passed it emerged under 30,000 tickets had been sold – well short of the 120,000 the Beresfords said they needed to make it viable. They announced instead they would hold a prize draw, with the winner scooping £110,070.
The Beresfords have kept the rest of the money generated from the ticket sales – about £640,000 – for themselves.
Justifying their actions, the couple claimed the money prize amounted to 75% of the ticket sales proceeds minus promotion costs – adding they stipulated this as an alternate prize in the competition conditions if they did not sell enough tickets.
Mr Beresford (61), claimed the couple spent £450,000 on advertising and PR bills and another £187,000 in time. He said they will file their accounts with statutory requirements.
Legally raffles and lotteries, which people pay to enter, fall under gambling law and can only be run in aid of good causes.
The Beresfords, who have three grown up children, wanted to sell their home to move to East Sussex.
Their property, called Avon Place and situated in the exclusive Avon Castle estate, is set in around an acre of private grounds and offers 7,000 square feet of open-plan living.
A distinctive glass and wood property built by the German Huf Haus company, it has fishing rights, seven reception rooms, a cinema, hi-tech kitchen and a bespoke-built barbecue house.