House raffles grew by 500% across Europe in 2020

The number of house raffles listed across Europe grew by 500% in 2020, compared to the year before, with prizes collectively worth more than €20 million, according to data collected by technology company Sesortea, Spain’s number one house raffle platform. Sesortea also notes that more than 15 new house raffle companies launched last year, and anticipates draws totalling at least €80 million in 2021.

“We have seen an explosion of interest in house raffles across Europe and expect 2021 will be even more active, helped in part by the way Covid-19 has forced the real estate sector to accelerate adoption of digital platforms, bringing with it the emergence of alternative ways to access housing,” said Manuel Gonzalvez, CEO of Sesortea, “From our perspective, the emergence of new competitors is positive news, as it helps to establish the sector, to raise standards and to arouse the interest of real estate investors.”

Sesortea is closing entries for its own raffle on Monday 22nd March, and will be live-streaming the draw to identify the lucky winner of a beach-front home in Vera Playa on Spain’s Andalusian coast on Thursday 25th.

The UK currently leads the way with the most companies dedicated to property raffles, rising from three in 2019 to twelve at the end of last year. In Spain’s case, there was one draw in 2020, though two are currently listed for 2021, including Sesortea’s Vera Playa home. Italy has a similar market, with draws worth €500,000 last year.

In spite of the growing popularity of house raffles, light regulation means the vast majority of draws in the UK have been plagued by issues including last-minute changes to terms, delays and outright cancellations, with very few winners ever being handed keys to the prize property.

By contrast in Spain every draw must be individually authorised by the Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ), stipulating the date of the draw, the maximum number of tickets to be sold and the terms.

“When it comes to house raffles Spanish regulation is unique worldwide and is certainly the regime that gives the most guarantees to the participant, and we believe that this kind of transparency and best practice are key to helping establish the credibility and desirability of this business model”, adds Gonzalvez.

Sesortea has already received more than 100 applications to raffle properties and earlier this month completed its third round of financing. Once the Vera Playa draw has been completed, the company will communicate the process and requirements for listing a property to be raffled on its platform.