Lottery registration

Pages in Lottery registration

  1. 1. You are here: What is a lottery?
  1. 2. Apply for a lottery registration

1. What is a lottery?

Lotteries are regulated by the Gambling Act 2005. Under the Act societies or organisations that are conducting small lotteries, raffles etc. to raise money for charity, sports and other similar purposes, for non-personal or non-commercial reasons must be registered with the Council. 

A lottery is a kind of gambling that is made up of  three essential ingredients:

  • You have to pay to enter the game;
  • There is always at least one prize; and
  • Prizes are awarded purely on chance.

In essence a small lottery is a raffle where players buy a ticket with a number on it; the tickets are randomly drawn and those holding the same numbered ticket win a prize.

The Act's definition of a small society lottery has two key points:

  • Society status - the society in question must be 'non-commercial'.
  • Lottery size - the total value of tickets for sale per single lottery must not exceed £20,000, or the aggregate value of tickets for sale in all lotteries in a calendar year must not exceed £250,000

Under the Act the proceeds of each society lottery draw are the responsibility of the individual society lottery operators. It is each society operator's responsibility to ensure that the proceeds, including expenses and prizes, of its lottery are apportioned and distributed lawfully and that a minimum of 20% of the proceeds of each of its society lottery draws are applied to a purpose for which the promoting society is established.

If the operator plans to exceed either of these values, they may need to be licensed with the Gambling Commission to operate a large lottery.

Do I need a licence to sell raffle tickets or run a tombola?

If the raffle or tombola tickets are to be sold on the day of the event and the raffle or tombola is to be drawn on that same day, then no licence is needed (this type of raffle uses cloakroom tickets and is usually held at an event such as a school fete or quiz night). If you are organising a raffle, tombola or prize draw where tickets are printed and/or sold in advance of the event you will need to apply for a Small Society Lottery Registration.

Organisers should be aware that children should not be allowed to play if alcohol is included in the prizes.

Further Information