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Small society lotteries - guidance to applicants

Gambling Act 2005 requires small society lotteries to be registered with the local authority where the principal head office of the society is situated in order to operate lotteries/raffles.

Registrations may be approved if the society meets certain requirements as set out in the Gambling Act 2005.

In order for an application to be legally registered The Gambling Act requires that the society must be established for a charitable and/or non-profit making purpose such as a charity or fund raising society.

Section 19 of the Act defines a society as such if it is established and conducted for the purpose of one or more of the following:

  • 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

It is inherent in this definition that the society must have been established for one of the permitted purposes listed above, and that the proceeds of any lottery must be devoted to those purposes.

Note: It is not permissible to establish a society whose the sole purpose is to facilitate lotteries, it must have some other purpose.

New registrations

If you wish to register you must make an application under the Gambling Act 2005 which can be applied for online using the small society lottery application form. The fee for a new registration will be £40 with a renewal fee of £20 due annually.


In order to maintain the registration, an annual fee of £20 will be payable each year at least two months prior to the anniversary of the original registration, this fee can be paid via our on-line application system or by telephone via debit/credit card.  Please note should the annual fee not be paid it will cause the small society registration to lapse. Consequently should you continue to hold lotteries under the Gambling Act 2005 without the relevant authorisation you could be committing an offence and liable for legal action.

If you would like to renew your registration, you may apply online using the Lottery application/renewal form

Small society lottery limits

The total value of tickets to be put on sale per single lottery must be £20,000 or less, or the aggregate value of tickets to be put on sale for all lotteries in a calendar year must not exceed £250,000. If an operator 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 instead. Please noted that there are also regulations concerning the sale of tickets and associated prizes.

For further information concerning lottery registrations and limits, please see our Link to lottery guidance notes [38kb].

Lottery returns

A statement of arrangements and proceeds made must be submitted no later than three months beginning on the day on which the draw (or last draw) in the lottery took place

For small societies making lottery returns please complete our Link to lottery return form.


There are exemptions for certain types of lotteries/raffles. For example, if you are operating a tombola or prize raffle as part of an event, like a school fete, this may be exempt from registration. Generally, where the tickets are sold and drawn on the same day as part of an event, you do not need a registration. For further clarification on these and other exemptions, please contact the Licensing Service direct on 01895 277433.

Offences under the Gambling Act 2005

Please note that if you are operating a Small Society Lottery without being registered with your local authority you could be committing an offence.  For a full breakdown of offences relating to lotteries please refer to the lottery guidance notes [38kb].

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 19 Mar 2018 at 10:30