Small society lotteries
Non-commercial societies wishing to promote small lotteries, raffles, prize draws or similar, in order to raise funds for a purpose of the society, must be registered with the local authority for the area in which the principal offices of the society are situated.
The initial registration fee is £40, with an annual fee of £20 payable in each subsequent year that the registration is in force.
Restrictions on small lotteries
To be classified as a 'small' lottery, each draw must meet the following requirements:
- the proceeds from a single lottery must not exceed £20,000
- the aggregate proceeds from lotteries promoted in a calendar year must not exceed £250,000
- at least 20% of the proceeds of every lottery must be used for a purpose for which the promoting society is established and conducted.
The maximum value of any prize allowed in a small society lottery is £25,000. This limit applies to both cash prizes and the value of any goods or services offered as a prize.
Unclaimed prizes can be 'rolled over' to future lotteries run by the same society, providing that the prize limit is not breached.
Every ticket sold in a lottery must be the same price, and the buyer must be given a document that identifies the promoting society, the price of the ticket, the name and address of a person responsible for the lottery, and the draw date(s).
Lottery tickets may only be sold by persons over the age of 16, to persons over the age of 16.
Filing of records
After promoting a lottery, the registered society must return details of that lottery to the local authority within three months of the date of the draw (or last draw). The details required include:
- details of the arrangements for the lottery including the date(s) on which tickets were sold, the dates of any draw(s) and the arrangements for prizes (including any rollover)
- the proceeds of the lottery
- the amounts deducted in respect of the provision of prizes
- the amounts deducted in respect of other costs incurred in organising the lottery
- any amount applied to a purpose for which the promoting society is conducted
- details of any expenses that were paid for other than by deduction from the proceeds.
You can use the Lottery returns form to return these details.
Every completed return must be signed by two directors, trustees or members who have been nominated by the society. A written document confirming this nomination (e.g. minutes from an AGM) should be supplied with the return.
Large society lotteries
Any lottery with proceeds of more than £20,000, or multiple lotteries run by a society with total proceeds of more than £250,000 in a calendar year, will be classified as large society lotteries.
We are obliged to notify the Gambling Commission of any such lotteries carried out by societies registered with us, and all subsequent lotteries run by the society in the following 3 years will need to be licensed by the Commission under an operating licence. Please see the Gambling Commission's website for further details about lottery operating licences.
The council maintains a public register listing all of the societies registered for the promotion of small society lotteries. This register, together with the details of any completed lotteries in the last 18 months, can be viewed at our offices at Blue Star House, during usual office hours.