which web host to use for small friendly venture

  paul-1723283 05:18 18 Mar 2011


I want to create a website where me and my frinds can log in and join small sweepstake competitions on various sporting events throughout the year. We normally arrange it all by text but this is labourious especially as a lot of my friends are across the pond. We all chip in small amounts of money say £30 per event for instance, and we have a 1st and 2nd prize. I want to be able to do the following:

1. Myself + up to 10 friends are able to log on to the site.
2. It can display sweepstake options on various sporting events.
3. Participants can pay their stake via the website (paypal? credit card? bank ransfer?
4. Winnings can be distributed back to the sweepstake winners.
5. We need to be able to make selections say from a list of players via links (for instance to choose from a list of say 30 football teams or 50 golfers) and our selections are logged against the individual user.
6. I want to be able to post videos of the "draws". For instance, randomly drawing selections on behalf of entrants. Sort of a lucky dip type thing. I draw 3 golfers for each of 10 players on their behalf and the video records the draw in the interest of fair play.
7. At this stage we want to keep it small and other players will have to be invited to join our site.
8. Create a forum where I can post updates for each running event and where participants can post comments.

Any suggestions for the right web-hosting package and what something like this might cost????

many thanks in advance

  Forum Editor 14:59 19 Mar 2011

from the Business forum.

  Forum Editor 11:17 20 Mar 2011

you have described a very complex site, one that would rely heavily on databases and scripts, to say nothing of the financial transaction difficulties - it's relatively easy to automate payments in, but when you start on distributing money back to winning investors you are into deep water.

You'll also need to think very carefully about the legal implications. In the UK sweepstakes are classed as lotteries under the Gambling Act 2005, but where the sweepstake is restricted to a limited membership - such as in an office, or a private society of some kind it's OK. You've mentioned friends in America however, and there the situation is different - sweepstakes which require a payment in order to participate are prohibited under Federal law.

You'll need to check the implications for your American participants very carefully.

  paul-1723283 00:14 21 Mar 2011

My aim is to keep this as small and as simple as possible initially and intend to offer membership to the site on an invite only basis.

What difficulties do you forsee regarding financial transactions? In my mind this would be as simple as collecting funds into a "holding account" and re-distributing after the event. That would be simple banking transactions wouldnt it? Is it not as simple as that??

Regarding your comment: "in America however, and there the situation is different - sweepstakes which require a payment in order to participate are prohibited under Federal law" is this relevant if it is a UK run seepstake??

thanks again

  Forum Editor 18:10 21 Mar 2011

US gambling laws apply to American citizens, regardless of where the gambling site is hosted. No US citizen may enter a sweepstake if a payment is a condition of entry.

Conducting financial transactions via a website can be complex, and more so if you intend to make repayments to credit card accounts on an automated basis. That would require you to hold bank account details, and that in turn would require you to register with the information Commissioner as a data processor.

The fact that you would only offer the service to personal friends would keep you on the right side of the Lotteries Act, but be warned - if you started to open up to registrations from anyone else you will need a Lottery licence.

four member's comments about structure and security provisions are valid - this is not going to be a simple operation to set up.

  paul-1723283 18:24 21 Mar 2011

I take on board all your comments, thank you.

So if I wanted to progress with my idea, what should be my next move in order to make sure that I'm not breaking any laws? I've already bought a domain and have started to build a website based around my idea.

It's obvious that the whole concept is more complicated than I thought it would be but I still think it's perhaps a viable business proposition.


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