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The Gambling Act 2005 authorises small lotteries to be run by societies to raise money for charitable, sports or similar purposes, other than for private gain.

To run a small society lottery you need to make an application for a small society lottery registration under the Gambling Act 2005.  The application form must be accompanied by the relevant fee and there is an annual renewal fee if you wish to continue the registration.

To be allowed to promote a lottery, the society must be non-commercial and established and run wholly or mainly for one, or more, of the following:

  • Charitable purposes
  • Participation in or support of athletic sports or games or cultural activities
  • Purposes which are not described above but are neither for private gain nor any commercial undertaking.

To be a small lottery the proceeds from one lottery must not exceed £20,000 or the total income from all the lotteries run by your organisation must not exceed £250,000 in a calendar year.  If you plan to exceed these limits you will be classed as operating a large lottery and this must be licensed by the Gambling Commission. Application forms are available and can be downloaded below. When completed they should be returned to the authority, together with the statutory fee of £40. The registration initially costs £40, is valid for twelve months from the date of issue and can be renewed provided that an annual fee of £20 is paid prior to the expiry of the registration.

If a society wishes to run lotteries which will exceed the amount mentioned above, then application for registration must be made to the Gambling Commission. Once registered with the Gambling Commission, the society must promote all further lotteries (of whatever size) held in that or the following three calendar years under the Board's registration, and will not be able to change to local authority during that time.

Conditions related to societies' lotteries:

The following conditions apply in cases of lotteries where the total value of tickets or chances to be sold is £20,000 or less;

  • No single prize may be worth more than £25,000 or 10% of the gross proceeds
  • at least 20% of the proceeds must be applied to the purposes of the society
  • rollovers between lotteries are only permitted where every lottery affected is also a small society lottery,  promoted by the same society and the maximum single prize is £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. 
pdf Lottery Application Form [20.61KB] pdf Lottery Guidance Note [21.53KB] pdf Lottery Renewal Form [152.96KB] pdf Lottery Returns Form [16.27KB] arrowGambling Commission arrowDepartment for Culture, Media and Sport arrowGambling Commission - Fundraising with small society lotteries