Battersea couple turn pension pots into £500k lottery for LGBTQ+ community

During 2020’s lockdown, London-based Tom Gattos and his partner, David Murray, had the idea for a lottery which directly supports the LGBTQ+ community. It was the community to which they belonged, but they had never been involved in LGBTQ+ charity work – in 2024, The Rainbow Lottery is projected to raise over £500,000 for LGBTQ+ projects around the UK.

Tom Gattos, co-founder of The Rainbow Lottery

“Some might say it’s payback time,” says Tom, “which is certainly true. But what is also true, is that with this lottery, we can be catalysts to assist the community coming together in one central arena of support. Hopefully, we in the community can finally be on a level playing field with society at large, which is in fact, all the LGBTQ+ community has ever asked.”

Born in Pittsburgh, Tom always knew that he was gay from a very young age. As soon as he was able to explore his sexuality, he travelled around the world, a journey that took him to New York, South Africa and, eventually where he would settle, London. He originally planned to stay in the capital for six months, but during this time, he met his partner of 44 years and business partner for the lottery, David. So he stayed.

Tom and David have lived a fairly constant life, enjoying their respective careers in advertising and architecture, however, the challenges of the pandemic made them question everything. They had an honest conversation about what they wanted their legacy to be.

Tom with partner, David.

“Neither of us had done anything specifically for the LGBTQ+ community before. We had both enjoyed our lives being out and proud, but it was nothing more than that – we discussed how we could help. We searched for a lottery that supported LGBTQ+ causes and found nothing, so we decided to make that our project. We had a reasonable sum of money in our pension pot and used it to set it up.

“Little did we know that the community would welcome it so warmly. In our first year, The Rainbow Lottery raised £100k, with the current figure to date being £300k. Now, we’re on track to raise over half a million pounds in 2024 alone – that’s how in-demand The Rainbow Lottery is.”

Playing in The Rainbow Lottery is simple. For £1 a week, players choose a row of six numbers between 0 and 9. Every Saturday night, the draw is made and prizes are given to players with tickets that match the first or last 2 to 6 numbers from the winning combination. Match all six and players win the weekly jackpot of £25k.

The best part is, that for every £1 ticket sold, 50p will go directly to good causes within the LGBTQ+ community. Players choose where that 50p goes – selecting from national causes such as Stonewall, Terrence Higgins Trust and Pride in London, to regional and local charities too. To put this into perspective, with at least 50% of the funds going to the organisations themselves, it’s double what other major lotteries do. In addition, it’s the only lottery where players have the power to pick the causes to which their money is donated.

Tom explains that, just like himself, other members of the LGBTQ+ community want to make an impact but don’t quite know how.

“With The Rainbow Lottery, we’re helping to turn people from “Slacktivists to Activists”. Essentially, those people who are passionate about doing something but might not have the means to offer a contribution or support – with The Rainbow Lottery, they now can, and even a small donation can make a huge difference.”

“We wanted to create a real vehicle for the community, something for everyone to get behind and have a sense of purpose. We’re really beginning to see how it can help, and to date, we have over 200 causes from around the UK.”

“Tom and David have done an amazing job and done something quite special for the LGBT community. And what we’re all able to do is make the best of that investment from them to see our community get that return week in and week out. We are hugely grateful to anyone who plays the Rainbow Lottery.” – Richard Angell, CEO of Terrence Higgins Trust.

“It’s an honour to work with Tom and The Rainbow Lottery team. At Stonewall we believe in a world where all LGBTQ+ people are free to be themselves, the Rainbow Lottery has helped us reach more people who share our vision for a better future. Thank you, Tom and David, for creating something that gives back to the LGBTQ+ community, as the team at Rainbow Lottery say – everybody wins!” – Jake O’Dwyer, Stonewall.

As for the future of The Rainbow Lottery, Tom has grand plans.

“We have the potential to compete with the biggest lotteries and create enormous funding for our community, but that can only happen when people get behind the causes, playing for as little as £1 per week to make a real difference!

“My question is simple: will you continue to be a slacktivist who never gets round to helping, or will you finally join us and be the activist our community desperately needs you to be?”