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Lottery registration

A prize includes any money, articles or services:

  • whether or not described as a prize
  • whether or not consisting wholly or partly of money paid, or articles or services provided by the participants.

Promoting or facilitating a lottery is unlawful, unless it falls into one of the two categories of permitted lotteries:

  • Exempt lotteries – regulated by us
  • Licensed lotteries – regulated by the Gambling Commission.

Gambling Commission guide to running a lottery

Licensed lotteries are:

  • Large society lotteries
  • Lotteries run for the benefit of local authorities.

These lotteries must have an operating licence issued by the Gambling Commission.

Small society lotteries

A small society lottery is a non-commercial lottery set up and run:

  • for charitable purposes
  • to enable participation or support of sport, athletics or cultural activities
  • for any other non-commercial purpose, but not for private gain.

They are regulated by the Gambling Act 2005.

All private lotteries must comply with certain conditions:

  • rollovers are prohibited
  • the rights conferred by the ticket are not transferable and this should be made clear on the ticket.

Private lotteries fall into three types:

Private society lottery

These can only be promoted by authorised members of a private society for any charitable or non-commercial purpose.

Tickets may only be sold to members or guests on the premises of the society.

Work lotteries

The promoter of a work lottery must work on the premises and tickets must only be sold to people who work together at same premises.

The lottery must not be run for profit. All the proceeds must be used for prizes or reasonable expenses incurred in organising the lotteries or for fundraising for any purpose other than private or commercial gain.

Customer lotteries

A customer lottery is a lottery run by the occupiers of business premises who sell only to customers present on their premises.

The following conditions apply:

  • Tickets can only be sold to people on the business premises as a customer of the promoter
  • The lottery must be arranged to ensure that no profit is made - proceeds can only be used for prizes and reasonable expenses
  • A ticket in a customer lottery may only be sold or supplied by the promoter or by someone on their behalf
  • No advertisement may be displayed or distributed, except on the premises, nor sent to any other premises. The lottery may therefore only be advertised on the premises on which it is held
  • No ticket may result in a prize worth more than £50
  • No rollover of prizes is permitted
  • There must be at least seven days between customer lotteries
  • Each ticket must state:
    • the name and address of the promoter
    • the class of persons who can take part
    • that the rights on the ticket are not transferable
    • customer lotteries may not be conducted on vessels.

Incidental lotteries

These can be held at both non-commercial and commercial events to raise money for charities and other good causes, but they cannot be operated for private or commercial gain.

Lottery results can be announced during or after the event. Tickets can be sold at the event and while it is taking place. There are no requirements for tickets in this type of lottery to contain specific information.

Gambling Commission guide to running a lottery

The promoter must live on a single set of premises and tickets may only be sold to other residents of the same premises.

These lotteries must not run for profit and all proceeds must be used for prizes or reasonable expenses or for fundraising for any purpose other than private or commercial gain.

Gambling Commission guide to running a lottery

To qualify as a small society lottery:

  • at least 20% of the proceeds go to the society’s purpose
  • it must not be possible for the purchaser of a ticket to win more than £25,000 whether in money, money's worth or a mixture of both
  • the prize may be rolled over, but only if each lottery to which the prize is rolled over is also a small society lottery
  • the total value of tickets put on sale in a single lottery is £20,000 or less
  • the aggregate value of tickets put on sale in any year does not exceed £250,000.

Gambling Commission guide to running a lottery

The society must register with us if the society office or head office is within the Small Society Lottery Registration Map. We must keep a register of all registrations.

If the raffle tickets are to be sold on the day of the event and the raffle 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 or prize draw where tickets are printed and sold in advance of the event you will need to apply for a Small society lottery new application form .

Gambling Commission guide to selling raffle tickets

If the tombola tickets are to be sold on the day of the event and the tombola is to be drawn on that day as well, then no licence is needed. If you want to sell tombola tickets in advance of the event then you will need to apply for a Small society lottery new application form .

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

Gambling Commission guide to running a tombola

In most cases these clubs exist to promote lotteries for a ‘good cause’ (lotteries can not be run for private or commercial gain) and many are run by organisations such as school parent teacher associations. The numbers 100, 200 or 500 refer to the number of participants in the lottery. You will need to apply for a Small society lottery new application form  .

Gambling Commission guide to running a lottery

We must refuse applications for registration if an operating licence held by the applicant has been refused or revoked in the previous five years.

We can refuse an application if we believe:

  • the applicant is not a non-commercial society
  • any person who will, or may be, connected to the promotion of the lottery has been convicted of a relevant offence
  • the information provided in, or in support of, the application, is false or misleading.

It can be if we think the society:

  • would have not complied with the legislation at the time of application or
  • have not complied with the legislation after granting registration.

The society may make representations about the revocation and appeal the decision.

If we revoke a registration, we will provide reasons and an outline of the evidence.

Yes. Any appeal against a refusal to grant or the revocation of a registration must be made to a Magistrates' Court within 21 days of receiving notice of the decision.

The magistrates' may:

  • affirm the decision made by us
  • reverse the decision made by us
  • make any other order.

Complete the Small society lottery new application form and send this with the relevant payment. Please allow one month for your application to be processed. Our licensing payments page explains what fees apply and how to pay them.

If you have paid by debit/credit card or by bacs before you have submitted your application form then you must include a copy of your receipt with the application. Any application received without the payment will not be processed.

Gambling Commission Guide to running a lottery

Complete the Small society lottery new application form and send this with the relevant payment. Please allow one month for your application to be processed. Our licensing payments page explains what fees apply and how to pay them.

If you have paid by debit/credit card or by bacs before you have submitted your application form then you must include a copy of your receipt with the application. Any application received without the payment will not be processed.

You must send us a return after you have held a lottery. You must complete the Small society lottery returns form.

‌Our licensing payments page explains what fees apply and how to pay them.

The registration period is indefinite, but you must pay an annual fee.