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Lotteries (small society lotteries)

Small society lotteries (or raffles) can only be run for good causes and are lotteries promoted for the benefit of a non-commercial society. Such societies are organisations that have distinct aims and objectives, and meet the definition of a non-commercial society set out in the Gambling Act 2005.

A society is non-commercial if it is established and conducted:

  • for charitable purposes
  • for the purpose of enabling participation in, or of supporting, sport, athletics or a cultural activity
  • for any other non-commercial purpose other than that of private gain

Societies that run small society lotteries, must ensure that:

  • the proceeds do not exceed £20,000 for a single draw
  • the society’s aggregate proceeds from lotteries do not exceed £250,000 a year (if they do a licence is required from the Gambling Commission)
  • must be registered with the council in the area where the principal office of the society is located.

Registration

  • Complete the application form
  • Pay the registration fee - £40
  • For continued registration an annual fee of £20 is required - failure to pay this fee will result in the cancellation of the registration

Proceeds and other monetary limits

A society must apply a minimum of 20% of the gross proceeds of each lottery directly to the purposes of the society.  Up to a maximum of 80% of the gross proceeds of each lottery may be divided between prizes and the expenses of the lottery.

The maximum prize in a single lottery is £25,000.  

Rollovers are permitted provided the maximum single prize limit is not breached.

Tickets

Every ticket in the lottery must be the same price and the cost of purchased tickets must be paid to the society before entry into the draw is allowed.  There is no maximum price of a lottery ticket.

All tickets must state:

  • the name of the society on whose behalf the lottery is being promoted
  • the price of the ticket
  • the name and address of the member of the society responsible for the promotion of the lottery. 
  • the date of the draw, or the means by which the date may be determined

Lottery tickets must not be sold to, or by, those under the age of 16.

Lottery submissions

Every society registered with a local authority to run small society lotteries must submit a statement providing the following information:

  • the date on which tickets were available for sale or supply and the date of the draw
  • the total proceeds of the lottery (remote and non-remote)
  • the amounts deducted by promoters of the lottery in providing prizes, including rollovers
  • the amounts deducted by the promoters of the lottery in respect of costs incurred in organising the lottery
  • the amount applied directly to the purpose for which the promoting society is conducted or for which the local authority has power to incur expenditure (at least 20% of the gross proceeds)
  • whether any expenses incurred in connection with the lottery were not paid for by deduction from the proceeds, and, if so, the amount of expenses and the sources from which they were paid.

The statement must be sent to the local authority within three months beginning on the day the draw (or last draw) in the lottery took place. It must be signed by two members of the society appointed in writing for that purpose by the society’s governing body and accompanied by a copy of that appointment.

Download the financial return form.

You will be sent pro-forma statements with your registration.

A society commits an offence if it fails to comply with this requirement.

Social responsibility

Lotteries are a form of gambling and as such societies are required to ensure that children and other vulnerable people are not exploited by their lottery.

The minimum age for participation in a society lottery is 16 years of age. A person commits an offence if they invite or allow a child to enter such a lottery. Licensed societies running lotteries must have written policies and procedures in place to help prevent and deal with cases of under-age play.

Licence holders must take all reasonable steps to ensure that information about how to gamble responsibly and how to access information and help in respect of problem gambling is readily available.

Further information about social responsibility requirements is contained in the Gambling Commission’s licence conditions and codes of practice.

For further information and details of 'Exempt Lotteries' please see the Gambling Commission guidance.