What is a Lottery?
A lottery is where persons pay to participate in an arrangement to win one or more prizes. The prizes must be allocated by a process which relies wholly on chance. Examples are prize draws or Christmas Raffles where tickets are sold in advance of the date of the draw.
Small Society Lotteries
Small societies such as a school or a charity are able to operate lotteries by holding a Small Society Lottery Registration, issued by their local authority providing they meet the following criteria:
(a) Society status - the society in question must be 'non-commercial'.
A society is defined as non-commercial, under the Act 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.
(b) Size of lottery - the total value of tickets to be put on sale per single lottery must be Â£20,000 or less and the aggregate value of tickets to be put on sale for all their lotteries in a calendar year must not exceed Â£250,000. If the organisation running the lottery plans to exceed either of these values then they will be classed as a large lottery operator, and must be licensed with the Gambling Commission.
The Gambling Commission may be contacted on 0121 230 6666 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The society will be required to be registered with their Local Authority in the area where their principal office is located.
Limits placed on Small Society Lotteries
- At least 20% of the lottery proceeds must be applied to the purposes of the society;
- No single prize may be worth more than Â£25,000
- Every ticket in the lottery must cost the same and the ticket fee must be paid to the society (i.e. the society must take payment) before entry into the draw is allowed.
- There is no maximum price that may be charged in respect of a lottery ticket.
Regulations under the Act
Paragraph 39 of the Act requires that following a small society lottery a returns form, showing financial information must be completed by the small society and;
- Be sent to the Licensing Authority no later than 3 months after the date of the lottery draw;
- Signed by two members of the Society who are appointed for the purpose in writing by the Society, or if it has one its governing body.
- Accompanied by a copy of the written agreement of members appointment.
- Once registered with the Licensing Authority, the Gambling Commission will be notified and the Society's details will be added to their register.
Lotteries may involve the issuing of a physical or virtual ticket to participants (a virtual ticket being non-physical, for example in the form of an email or text messages - if it is a virtual ticket the participant must be able to retain the message or print it out). The purchaser of a small society lottery/raffle ticket must receive a document which identifies;
- The name of the promoting society
- The price of the ticket (must be the same for all tickets);
- The name and address of the member of the society who is designated as having the responsibility at the society for promoting small lotteries, or (if there is one) the external lottery manager; and
- The date of the draw.
Raffle tickets should not be sold in the street (this includes shopping malls).
Lottery tickets may not be sold by, or to, children under the age of 16 years It is an offence to invite, cause or permit a child to participate in a lottery.
Small societies should therefore avoid selling lottery tickets to children or giving tickets to children to sell and should implement effective procedures to minimise the risk of lottery tickets being sold to children
Application Forms and Annual Fees - for a Lottery Registration
If you would like to apply for a Lottery Registration under the Gambling Act 2005, please use the online application below.
The fee for new application is Â£40.
Once a Registration has been made it will be of unlimited period unless cancelled by the Society or the Licensing Authority. There will be a re-registration application process which will need to be completed each year and an annual fee which is currently Â£20.
If the annual fee is not paid the Registration will lapse.
The Licensing Section will write to you when the annual fee is due.
Exemption from requirement for Small Society Registration for Incidental "Non Commercial" Lotteries/Raffles
An incidental non-commercial lottery is one that is not promoted for private gain and which is incidental to a non commercial event and the tickets are sold and prizes drawn at the event. Examples may include a raffle using cloakroom tickets held at a school fete, or at a social event such as a dinner dance. An event is deemed non-commercial if all the money raised at the event, including entrance fees, goes entirely to purposes that are not for private gain. Therefore a fund raising social event with an entrance fee would be non-commercial if all the profits went to the society but would be commercial if some of the profits were retained by the organiser.
These incidental lotteries are exempt under the Gambling Act 2005 and therefore can take place without the need for a Small Society Registration providing they meet the following requirements:
- Tickets must only be sold at the premises during the event, and the result must be made public while the event takes place.
- The promoters of lottery may not deduct more than Â£500 from the proceeds in respect of the cost of prizes.
- The promoters of lottery may not deduct more than Â£100 from the proceeds in respect of the cost of other expenses, such as printing tickets or hire of equipment.
- The lottery cannot involve a roll over
- Tickets can be cloakroom tickets or printed tickets especially created for the draw.
Licensing Section, Brentwood Borough Council, Town Hall, Ingrave Road, Brentwood, Essex, CM15 8AY email@example.com
For more information on the Gambling Act 2005 you may wish to view the Gambling Commission's website at www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk or contact them on 01212 306 666.