Lotteries are controlled by the Gambling Commission (external link) unless they fall under the description of an exempt lottery contained in schedule 11 of the Gambling Act 2005.
The following are considered exempt lotteries:
- Incidental lotteries: no requirement to register with the Council
- Private lotteries: no requirement to register with the Council
- Customer lotteries: no requirement to register with the Council
- Small Society lotteries: registration with the Council required
These can be held at commercial and non-commercial events where the money raised is not for private gain. No official permission is required. All tickets must be sold at the location of the event, but the draw can take place after the event, which may last more than a day. The promoters of the lottery may not deduct more than £100 from the proceeds in respect of the expenses incurred in organising the lottery, such as the cost of printing tickets, hire of equipment and so on. No more than £500 can be spent on prizes (but other prizes may be donated to the lottery) and the lottery cannot involve a rollover of prizes from one lottery to another.
Private lotteries can be private society lotteries, work lotteries, and residents' lotteries.
Private Society Lotteries
Any group or society, except those set up for gambling, and where the proceeds of the lottery go to the purposes of the society, or for any other purpose other than that of private gain. If you run or are a member of a private society, as long as that society has not been formed for gambling, you can run a lottery or raffle for the benefit of that society without an operating licence from the Gambling Commission. Tickets can only be sold to members of the private society or guests on the society's premises.
These can only be run and played by colleagues at a particular place of work. This type of lottery must be run in such a way as to ensure that no profit is made, or the lottery is promoted wholly for a purpose other than that of private gain. You can run a lottery for your employees at a single set of work premises without an operating licence from the Gambling Commission, unless your workplace is subject to a gambling premises licence.
These can only be run and played by people living at a particular address. This type of lottery must be run in such a way as to ensure that no profit is made, or the lottery is promoted wholly for a purpose other than that of private gain. You can run a lottery for the residents living in a single set of premises without a Gambling Commission licence.
These can only be run by a business, at its own premises and for its own customers. No prize can be more than £50 in value. This type of lottery cannot make a profit, and so is unsuitable for fundraising.
If you run a business and would like to run a lottery by selling tickets to customers on your business premises you can do so without an operating licence from the Gambling Commission, unless your business is subject to a gambling premises licence. All of the proceeds (ticket sales) must be spent on prizes and expenses, there can be no profit.
Small Society Lotteries
The society in question must be set up for non-commercial purposes; e.g. enabling participation in or supporting sports, or cultural activity or charitable. Proceeds must not exceed £20,000 for a single draw and aggregate proceeds from lotteries must not exceed £250,000 in any one year. Tickets must contain the information prescribed by the lottery regulations. If you belong to a society or club that wants to run regular lottery draws or raffles, you must register with the Council. Registrations no longer have an expiry date, but you must pay the annual maintenance fee of £20 prior to the annual anniversary of grant to avoid the registration being cancelled. A reminder will be sent to the email address held on file, but it remains the promoter's responsibility to pay this fee. If the contact details for the society change, you must confirm the new details to the Council in writing (a signed letter in PDF format by email is sufficient). The Council reserves the right to request the society's terms and conditions and/or constitution to establish that the society is non-commercial in nature before granting a registration.
For more information on small lotteries please read the guidance notes below:
- Small society application form
- Small society lottery returns form
- Small society lottery - Model constitution
- Small society promoter's guidance notes
The Council is happy to accept a completed and signed application form if it is emailed as a PDF document to email@example.com. Payment can be made over the phone by calling 01353 665555.
Alternatively, completed paper forms should be returned with the statutory fee to:
The Licensing Department, East Cambridgeshire District Council, The Grange, Nutholt Lane, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4EE.
Before completing your application, your attention is drawn to our privacy and data retention policy.