You do not need any kind of licence to hold an Incidental Lottery for charitable or good cause purposes. An Incidental Lottery is a lottery where the tickets are only sold during the event that the prizes will be drawn. An example of this would be where tickets are sold during a village or school fete and prizes are given out at the end of the day.
If tickets are to be sold in advance of the prize draw then the lottery becomes licensable by the Local Authority and in some cases by the Gambling Commission as well.
We are responsible for issuing licences for the following types of lotteries:
- Small Society Lotteries – a lottery promoted for non-commercial purposes ie charity, sports events, cultural activities etc
- Private Lotteries – such as one held by members of a society, a group of residents in a given premises or a group of workers, again in a single premises
- Customer Lotteries – run by a business selling only to their customers, for example a shop running a lottery for a Hamper Raffle
If your lottery will be selling over £20,000 worth of tickets at a single event, or £250,000 worth of tickets in a calendar year, then you will also need an Operator’s Licence from the Gambling Commission.
There are a number of detailed requirements which must be observed in order to retain the exemption and if these conditions are not met, then the promoter or organiser commits an offence. Further information on these requirements can be found on the Gambling Commission’s lottery and small society pages.
You must be a society set up for charitable purposes or to enable others either to participate in, or support sport or other cultural activities, or some other non-commercial purpose other than private gain.
You must be a fit and proper person.
We have produced a set of Lotteries which gives detailed explanation of the regulations.
We have also produced Guidance for Small Society Lotteries.
How to apply
Applications should be made to the Local Authority area in which your society headquarters are located, even if you intend to conduct your lottery within another area.
- Be on the prescribed form (see below)
- State the purpose for which the society is conducted
- Include the prescribed fee
The current fee is £40 for the first registration and £20 for renewals.
The easiest way to register or renew your lottery is to use our Online Lottery Application Form . Our new online system will email you confirmation of registration and a copy of your receipt straight away.
If you do not want to register online then you will need to download our Lottery Application Form and return it us, with your payment, at the address below.
After the lottery
After your lottery is held the law requires that you must file your records of the lottery with the Council within three months of the lottery.
The information required is as follows:
- Arrangements for the lottery
- Proceeds Amounts deducted as prizes
- Amounts deducted as costs
- Amounts applied to the society’s purposes
- Any expenses paid to third parties
You can file all of this information by completing the returns form and returning it to us at the address and email below:
- Download our Lottery Return Form.
Licence holder redress
The Licensing Authority may refuse your application for registration if it considers that:
- The society is not a non-commercial society
- A person who is or may be connected to the lottery has been convicted of a relevant offence
- Information provided in or with the application is false or misleading
The Licensing Authority must refuse your application if in the preceding five years:
- An operating licence held by the applicant has been revoked
- An application for an operating licence made by the applicant has been refused
Once granted a Licensing Authority may revoke registration if it considers that the society no longer meets the application criteria. It may also cancel the registration should the society fail to pay the annual fee.
You have the right to appeal against any decision of the Licensing Authority to reject or refuse your application or to cancel/revoke your registration.
All appeals must be made to the local Magistrates’ court within 21 days of notice of the Licensing Authority’s decision.
Please feel free to contact us for advice in the first instance. Alternatively you may wish to consider seeking independent legal advice.
We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you – preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked Gov.uk can offer advice on Consumer Protection Rights.