There are three types of lottery - society lotteries, small lotteries and private lotteries.

The Gambling Commission's guide to Running a Lottery (including raffles, tombolas, sweepstakes and more) can help you understand what, if any, permission you will need for a particular activity.

Society Lottery

Society Lotteries (i.e. by organisations such as Scout Groups and Parent Teacher Associations) can raise money for charitable, sporting, educational, and other similar purposes, and not for private gain.

Organisations that want to hold lotteries in more than one local authority area must register with the local authority where their head office/base is located.

Registration of Society

A society must be one established and conducted wholly or mainly for one or more of the following purposes:-

(a) charitable purposes
(b) participation in or support of athletic sports or games or cultural activities
(c) purposes which have not been described in paragraphs (a) or (b) above, and are neither for private gain nor for any commercial undertaking

Please use the following Lottery Licence Form to apply for a new application or a renewal of an existing application which is due to expire. Please note, if you have had a licence previously but it has expired, you will need to apply for a new licence.

Conditions Relating To Societies Lotteries

The following conditions apply to small society lotteries:

  • The lottery must be promoted wholly on behalf of a non-commercial society
  • The lottery proceeds may not exceed £20,000, and the aggregate of all lotteries promoted by the society may not exceed £250,000 in a calendar year
  • The lottery must be promoted for one or more of the purposes for which the promoting society is conducted
  • At least 20% of the proceeds of the lottery must be applied to a purpose for which the society is conducted
  • Maximum prize - It must not be possible for the purchaser of a ticket in a small society lottery to win by virtue of that ticket (whether in money, money's worth, or partly the one and partly the other) more than £25,000
  • Rollovers - The arrangements for a small society lottery may include a rollover only if each other lottery which may be affected by the rollover is a small society lottery promoted by or on behalf of the same society
  • The ticket must:
    • identify the promoting society
    • state the price of the ticket
    • state the name and an address of a member of the society who is designated, by persons acting on behalf of the society, as having responsibility within the society for the promotion of the lottery, or
    • if there is one, the external lottery manager, and either:
      • state the date of the draw (or each draw) in the lottery or
      • enable the date of the draw (or each draw) in the lottery to be determined.

Small lotteries

A small lottery is defined as a lottery which is incidental to exempt entertainments such as a bazaar, sale of work, fete, dinner, dance, sporting or athletic event or entertainment of a similar character, whether limited to one day or extending over two or more days.

The following conditions must be observed:

  1. The whole proceeds of the entertainment (including the proceeds of the lottery) after deducting -
    • expenses of the entertainment, including expenses incurred in connection with the lottery
    • expenses incurred in printing tickets in the lottery
    • a sum, if any, not exceeding £50 as the promoters of the lottery think fit to appropriate on account of any expenses incurred by them in purchasing prizes in the lottery, shall be devoted to purposes other than private gain.
  2. The prizes must not be money prizes
  3. The tickets must be sold at and during the progress of the entertainment, and the results also announced during this time.
  4. The lottery must be a small part of the entertainment

For more information, please view Organising small lotteries on the Gambling Commission website.

Private Lotteries

A private lottery is for members of one society, people who work on the same premises, or reside on the same premises. Each local or affiliated branch or section of the society shall be regarded as a separate society.

The following conditions must be observed:

  1. The whole proceeds (less money spent on printing and stationery) shall be devoted to the provision of prizes for purchasers of tickets or for a lottery promoted for members of a society shall be devoted either to the provision of prizes, and/or to the purposes of the society
  2. The lottery should not be advertised other than a notice on the premises of the society or where people reside, or on the ticket
  3. Each ticket must be the same price and must be stated on the ticket
  4. Each ticket must have names and addresses of each promoter and to whom the tickets are to be sold
  5. All tickets shall be issued by the promoters by way of sale and upon receipt of its full price.
  6. No tickets shall be sent through the post


When a lottery has been held, the promoter must send a Return detailing the appropriation of monies from the proceeds of the lottery, not later than the end of the third month after the date of the lottery. Please complete and return the Returns Form below:

The Return must be certified by two members of the society (other than the promoter), being persons over 18 years old, appointed, in writing, by the governing body of the society. Failure to send a Return for each lottery is likely to result in future registrations being refused. Any person who knowingly gives or certifies any false information in such a Return makes themselves liable to prosecution.

Appeal against refusal/Revocation of permit

An authorisation permit will be refused if the above conditions are not met, and may be revoked if the conditions cease to be met.

There is a right of appeal to the Crown Court against revocation or refusal of registration.