Small society lotteries

Society lotteries are governed by the Gambling Act 2005. Society lotteries are lotteries established for the benefit of a non-commercial society.

A society is non-commercial if it is established and conducted:

  • for charitable purposes;
  • to enable participation in, or to support, sports, athletic or cultural activities, or;
  • for any other non-commercial purpose other than private gain.

A society must hold a lottery operating licence issued by the Gambling Commission if the total proceeds exceed £20,000 or £250,000 in cumulative lotteries in one calendar year. If the proceeds are below these levels, the society must register with us as a 'small society lottery'.

Small society registrations are for societies starting a lottery, 100 club or pre-selling raffle tickets before the day of the draw.

  • Application process
    The society must apply to the local authority where their principal office is situated. To apply complete a small society lottery registration application form (pdf, 101kb) and return it with the appropriate fee. If everything is correct with the application you will receive your registration, receipt and a returns form. We aim to process applications within 10 working days of receipt. Contact us if you have not received your registration within this time period.
  • Limits placed on small society lotteries
    The limits placed on small society lotteries are as follows:

    - at least 20 per cent of the lottery proceeds must be applied to the purposes of the society;
    - no single prize may be worth more than £25,000;
    - rollovers between lotteries are only permitted where every lottery is also a small society lottery promoted by the same society and the maximum single prize is £25,000 and,
    - every ticket in the lottery must cost the same and the society must take payment for the ticket fee before entry into the draw is allowed;
    - small lotteries must not exceed £20,000 worth of tickets put on sale and the society’s aggregate proceeds from lotteries must not exceed £250,000 per year;
    - societies must be registered with the Local Authority where their principal office is located.

    Tickets must state:

    - The name of the society on whose behalf the lottery is being promoted
    - The price of the ticket
    - The name and address of the person responsible for the promotion of the lottery
    - The date of the draw.

    Tickets may not be sold to any person in a street but can be sold in a kiosk or from door to door. The minimum age for participation is 16 years. Further information is available in the guidance notes (pdf, 45kb)
  • Returns
    The society must submit a small society lottery return (pdf, 92kb) to the local authority which issued the registration after each lottery held. The return must be submitted within three months of the date of the lottery. The return must be signed by two members of the society (who must be over 18 years old) who are appointed in writing by the society for that purpose. Proof of the appointment will be required; this can be a copy of the society’s minutes.

    The returns provide details of how much was raised for the causes of the society, how much was used in prizes and administration. We check these to ensure that the above requirements are being met. You will receive a returns form with your registration. If you need further copies you can download a copy from the related documents section of this page.

    Returns are available for inspection by members of the public for a minimum period of 18 months following the date of the lottery draw. The returns are available at our offices on request, contact us if you would like to view the returns. A fee of 10p per copy is payable if you would like copies of any returns. 
  • Renewals
    The annual fee of £20 is payable before the anniversary of the registration. An invoice will be sent to the registered address. If the society fails to pay the annual fee by the expiry date then we may cancel the society's registration. More information can be found on the Gambling Commission website. 
  • Change of details
    If your promoter changes or the promoter changes their name or address please use the small lottery change of details form. (pdf, 100kb) This can also be used for change of address of the society.