Russia Plans Lottery to Raise Money For Film, Arts

Vladimir Medinsky

Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky has Kremlin backing for five schemes to raise $120 million a year.

MOSCOW -- Russian filmmakers may have a new source of funding after details emerged of plans to launch a raft of national lotteries.

Culture minister Vladimir Medinsky has won Kremlin backing for five new lotteries that would aim to raise an annual $120 million within five years, according to a report Thursday in respected business newspaper Kommersant.

The plan, which would involve launching three lotteries with unlimited ticket sales and two with a ceiling on the number of tickets available (thus increasing the odds of winning), would mark a major increase in government involvement in a form of public gambling widely used across Europe to raise money for worthy causes.

The proposals, which – in a rare move in Russia -- are due to go out for public consultation before a decision next month, may also pave the way for a state monopoly on lotteries, Kommersant reported.

According to documents seen by the newspaper, Medinsky argues that the lotteries would give a positive boost to funding for contemporary art, cinema, national creative projects, talented and gifted young people, libraries and tourism.

Currently the Russian government runs three lotteries: Sportloto, organized by the Ministry of Finance to raise money to support the Sochi Winter Olympics in February 2104; Gosloto, through the Sports Ministry; and Pobeda, through the state agency for specialist building projects.

Under new regulations, private lotteries will be made illegal next year, with the exception of promotional schemes for goods and services, meaning that a government monopoly on lotteries is likely to prove lucrative.

A raft of recent British films that have been critically and commercially successful relied on the U.K.’s National Lottery for some of their budgets, including Tom Hooper's The King's Speech, Andrea Arnold's second feature Fish Tank and Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky.