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Small Society Lotteries - Gambling

A lottery is a distribution of prizes by lot or chance where there is no degree of skill involved, and the chance of winning is secured by a payment.

Small Society Lotteries Overview

Small society lotteries are often referred to as raffles or draws and can be a good way to raise funds for charitable purposes.

If money is paid for the chance to win a prize where no skill, judgement or knowledge affects the outcome, this is known as a lottery. If your society wants to do this you may need to register with us in order to promote a small society lottery.

Society lotteries are lotteries promoted for the benefit of a non-commercial society. A society can be considered non-commercial if it is established and conducted for:

  • Charitable purposes.
  • The purpose of enabling participation in, or of supporting, sport, athletics or a cultural activity.
  • Any other non-commercial purpose other than that of private gain.

A small society lottery cannot be run for private gain.

Societies/clubs who run small society lotteries, that is to say lotteries which are not large lotteries (essentially those in which £20,000 worth of tickets, or less, are put on sale and where the society's aggregate proceeds from lotteries do not exceed £250,000 a year) may operate without a Gambling Commission licence provided they register with their Local Licensing Authority.

If your proceeds/prizes exceed these amounts you will need to be licensed as a large society lottery with the Gambling Commission.


The following, under certain limited circumstances, are not required to be registered with the Licensing Authority nor do they need to obtain a licence from the Gambling Commission:

  • incidental non - commercial lotteries (mainly held at charity fund raising events)
  • private society lotteries
  • work place lotteries
  • residents lotteries
  • customer lotteries

If all of the lottery tickets are sold on the same day as the draw, for example at a village fête or dinner dance, this wouldn't need registering with the Licensing Authority or the Gambling Commission.

Apply for a Small Society Lottery Registration

If your non-commercial society wants to run a small society lottery you'll need to register this with us. As part of this process the society will need to appoint a member to be the promoter of the lottery.

You must be registered with the Local Authority in the area where the principal office of the society is located.

You'll need to fill in an application form and send this to us. You'll need to know:

  • the details of the society applying and whether they are a registered charity
  • if the society has held a Gambling Commission operating licence or had an operating licence refused or revoked
  • the name and address of the lottery promoter
  • contact details for correspondence

Before registering the society the Council must be satisfied that the society is properly constituted and also that it is established wholly or mainly for charitable, sports or cultural activities. With this in mind if you have to hand a copy of the terms and conditions of the society's constitution (including details on how you intend to decide on the dispersal of funds and publicise the said dispersal) you're asked to include the same with your application for registration.

The society must appoint two adult members of the society to certify the lottery returns, which must be submitted to the Licensing Authority (see below).

What You Will Need to Do After the Lottery

You'll need to fill in and send to us a lottery return form after every draw has taken place giving an account of the monies raised. You'll need to give this to us no later than three months after every draw.

This statement must be countersigned by two members of the society who are appointed for the purpose in writing by the society, or if it has one, it's governing body. These persons must be an adult.


You will be charged a fee of £40.00 for the small society application with an annual fee of £20.00. Non payment of the £20.00 annual fee will result in the lottery registration being cancelled.

Society Lottery Ticket Requirements

There is no restriction on ticket prices. However, all tickets which are sold for a particular lottery must all be the same price.

Every ticket in a lottery promoted by a society under Local Authority registration must specify:

  • The fact that the society is registered with the Council
  • The name of the promoting society
  • The name and address of the promoter or lottery manager
  • The price of the ticket
  • The date of the draw

Further Information

Further detailed information regarding lotteries can be found on the Gambling Commission website:

Gambling Commission Website