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Details of licensing requirements for lotteries.

Small society lotteries are those promoted on behalf of a society that is established and conducted for any of the following:

  • Charitable purposes
  • The purpose of enabling participation in, or supporting of, sport, athletics or a cultural activity
  • Any other non-commercial purpose other than that of private gain

It is not permissible to establish a society whose sole purpose is to facilitate lotteries - it must have some other purpose.

The promoting society of a small society lottery must, throughout the period during which the lottery is promoted be registered with the Licensing Board for the area in which the principal premises of the society are situated.

The total value of tickets to be put on sale per single lottery must be £20,000 or less, or the aggregate value of the tickets to be put on sale for all their lotteries in a calendar year must not exceed £250,000. If the 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.

Application form


The Registration fee is £40 and the annual retention fee is £20.

Lottery requirements

  • At least 20% of the proceeds of the lottery must be applied to a purpose for which the society is conducted
  • Prizes must not exceed £25,000 (whether in money, money's worth, or partly the one and partly the other)
  • 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 (and subject to the terms of the preceding paragraph)

Lottery tickets

Lotteries may involve the issuing of physical or virtual tickets to participants (a virtual ticket being non-physical, for example in the form of an e-mail or text message). The purchase of a small society lottery ticket must receive a document which identifies:

  • The name of the promoting society
  • The price of the ticket (must be the same for all tickets)
  • The name and address of the member of the society who is designated as having responsibility at the society for promoting small lotteries, or (if there is one) the external lottery manager
  • Either the date of the draw, or, information which enables the date to be determined

However, the requirement to provide this information can be satisfied if the participant can retain the message electronically or print it.

Lottery tickets may only be sold by persons over the age of 16 to persons over the age of 16.

Tickets should not be sold in a street, where street includes any bridge, road, lane, footway, subway, square, court or passage (including passages through enclosed premises such as shopping malls).

Tickets may, however, be sold from a kiosk, in a shop or door-to-door.


Prizes awarded in small society lotteries can be either cash or non-monetary.

Returns - what information has to be supplied?

The promoting society of a small society lottery must send to the Licensing Board the following information:

  • The arrangements for the lottery - specifically the date on which tickets were available for sale or supply, the dates of any draw and the value of prizes, including any donated prizes and any rollover
  • The proceeds of the lottery
  • The amounts deducted by the promoters of the lottery in providing prizes, including prizes in accordance with any rollovers

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