A retired couple who had the chance to win their house and pool of £ 500,000 with a £ 10,000 raffle ticket had to close the competition with "sincere and upset regret".

Robert and Avril Smith announced last year that they hoped to sell 60,000 tickets on the £ 10, thus offering the public a chance to win their home in Grosmont, North Yorkshire.

The winner was to be drawn on Thursday, but Mr and Mrs Smith declared that they were "back to square one" after being told by the Gambling Commission that it was not a legal prize competition.

They stated that they had already postponed the draw date to August after the Cancer Research UK charity had agreed to contribute to its promotion in 2019, but had discovered just before Christmas that They could not continue.

In the house of Robert and Avril Smith who announced last year hoping to sell 60,000 tickets on the £ 10, which would give the public a chance to win their home in Grosmont, North Yorkshire, but the Gambling Commission does not has not indicated. a legal prize competition. (WinaYorkshireHome)

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In a message posted on the website set up by the couple to manage the contest, they said: "It is with sincere regret and great annoyance that the contest must close.

"The Gaming Commission considered the contest to be a potential lottery and not a legal prize contest.

"We understand your disappointment for all and can only sincerely apologize and offer a full refund."

Last year, Mr. and Mrs. Smith said that the house had a heated outdoor pool, a log cabin, an orangery and a whirlpool, but they wanted to get closer to their son in Harrogate.

In the house of Robert and Avril Smith who announced last year hoping to sell 60,000 tickets on the £ 10, which would give the public a chance to win their home in Grosmont, North Yorkshire, but the Gambling Commission does not has not indicated. a legal prize competition. (WinaYorkshireHome)

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They also hoped to raise up to £ 60,000 for Cancer Research UK through the sale.

Mrs. Smith fought cancer 10 years ago and the couple also lost their daughter three years ago.

Her husband stated on the website: "As you have seen, my wife and I have suffered a lot over the past three years and we hoped it would give us the break we need. Unfortunately, we are back to square one. "

On Thursday, Smith said the Gaming Commission had knowledge of the competition in July but only informed him of the decision a few days before Christmas.

He said, "It was our worst Christmas in 48 years of marriage. But we just have to try to raise ourselves. "

Mr. Smith, 75, said he now reimbursed more than 6,000 people who bought a ticket, some buying more than one.

He said, "They will not lose. The only losers are me, my wife and cancer research.

He added that he would continue to donate to the charity.

The couple criticized the Gambling Commission for failing to inform him earlier and also said the decision was contrary to the legal advice given to them.

They said that the house was open to tenders in the usual way and that refunds of tickets could be claimed via the website.

The Gaming Commission said that she could not comment on specific cases, but a spokeswoman said: "The commission is required to prevent illegal gambling.

"This includes identifying instances where promotions called" competitions "or" free draws "are in fact lotteries that should be licensed.

"By regulating lotteries, we work to protect funds for a variety of good causes, such as charities, hospices, air ambulance services or other non-profit organizations, which depend on all heavily revenue from lotteries to support their work. .

"The commission will act where systems are organized and promoted, which equates to unlicensed and illegal gambling."

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