Small Society Lotteries

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Small Society Lottery Definition

A Small Society Lottery is a prize draw or raffle promoted on behalf of a non-commercial society (see below) for the purposes of fund raising. It is known in law as an "exempt lottery", which means that it does not need a licence from the Gambling Commission.

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

  • for charitable purposes

  • for the purpose of enabling participation in, or of supporting, sport, athletics or a cultural activity: or

  • for any other non-commercial purpose other than a private gain

A lottery is small if the total value of tickets put on sale in a single lottery is £20,000 or less and the total value of the tickets put on sale in a calendar year is £250,000 or less. Where tickets for a single lottery exceed £20,000 or the total value of tickets in a year exceeds £250,000 a lottery is a Large Society Lottery and a licence will be required from the Gambling Commission.


The promoting society of a Small Society Lottery must, throughout the period during which the lottery is promoted, be registered with the Local Authority in the area where their principal office is located.

Applicants for new registrations will be required to submit:

New registrations cost £40.

The registration attracts an annual fee of £20, which must be paid within the period of two months which ends immediately before each anniversary of the registration. Please submit this along with the following form:

Regulations under the Gambling Act 2005

As the purpose of permitted lotteries is to raise money for non-commercial causes, the Act requires that a minimum proportion of the money (20%) raised by the lottery is channelled to the Society that promoted the lottery. It is an offence to exceed these limits.

Lottery tickets

All tickets in a Small Lottery Society registered with the Local Authority must state:

  • 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; and

  • the date of the draw, or enables the date to be determined

  • the Act requires that lottery tickets may only be sold by persons over the age of 16 to persons over the age of 16


registered Society's return form (pdf) must be submitted to Three Rivers District Council's Licensing Department within the three months beginning on the day on which the draw (or last draw) in the Lottery took place.


Further advice on Small Society Lotteries is here

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