Small Society Lotteries

Non-commercial societies wishing to promote small lotteries, raffles, prize draws or similar, in order to raise funds for a purpose of the society, must be registered with us.

To apply please download the form below and return it to us along with the appropriate fee:

Application form for non-commercial small society lotteries registration

Annual Fee

The initial registration fee is £40, with an annual fee of £20 payable in each subsequent year until the registration is surrendered or revoked.

Failure to pay the annual renewal fee will result in the society's registration being cancelled meaning that any lottery activity will be illegal. To continue to offer lottery activity a new application would need to be made and the registration granted before commencement of the activity.

Restrictions on small lotteries

To be classified as a 'small' lottery, each individual promotion must meet the following requirements:

  • the proceeds from a single lottery must not exceed £20,000
  • the aggregate proceeds from lotteries promoted in a calendar year must not exceed £250,000
  • at least 20 per cent of the proceeds of every lottery must be used for a purpose for which the promoting society is established and conducted.


The maximum value of any prize fund allowed in a small society lottery is £25,000. This limit applies to both cash prizes and the value of any goods or services offered as a prize.

Unclaimed prizes can be 'rolled over' to future lotteries run by the same society, providing that the £25,000 prize limit is not breached.


Every ticket sold in a lottery must be the same price, and the buyer must be given a document that identifies the promoting society, the price of the ticket, the name and address of a person responsible for the lottery, and the draw date(s).

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

Return of lottery details

After promoting a lottery, the registered society must return details of that lottery to us within three months of the date of the draw (or last draw). The details required include:

  • details of the arrangements for the lottery including the date(s) on which tickets were sold, the dates of any draw(s) and the arrangements for prizes (including any rollover)
  • the proceeds of the lottery
  • the amounts deducted in respect of the provision of prizes
  • the amounts deducted in respect of other costs incurred in organising the lottery
  • any amount applied to a purpose for which the promoting society is conducted
  • details of any expenses that were paid for other than by deduction from the proceeds.

A template returns form, which can be used to submit these details, is available below.

Small society lottery template returns form (PDF 55KB)

Every completed returns form must be signed by two directors, trustees or members who have been nominated by the society. A written document confirming their nomination (for example, minutes from an Annual General Meeting) should be supplied with the return.


Q: Do we need a lottery licence to run a raffle at our school / church event?

A: If running a raffle where tickets are NOT sold before the event, this falls under the terms of an 'incidental non-commercial lottery'. As such, you will not require a licence or any specific permissions. However, you must adhere to the following rules:

  • All tickets must be sold at the location during the event and the result made public while the event takes place.
  • The promoters of the lottery cannot deduct more than £100 from the proceeds in expenses incurred, such as for the cost of printing ticket, hire of equipment, etc.
  • No more than £500 can be spent on prizes (but other prizes may be donated) and the raffle cannot involve a rollover of prizes.

If selling tickets prior to the event (and income is less than £20,000), this falls under the terms of a 'small society lottery' and you will need to register with your local authority.

Q: Can we sell tickets before the event?

A: If you're planning to sell tickets prior to the event and the proceeds (from ticket sales) for a single draw are not anticipated to exceed £20,000 then you must register with your local authority as a 'small society lottery'. You would need to pay a small fee and comply with a range of regulatory requirements including providing entrants to the lottery with tickets stating specific information (see below) and preventing children under the age of 16 from participating. If the proceeds for a single draw were to exceed £20,000 you would require a 'large society lottery' licence from the Gambling Commission.

Q: Are there specific details that must be printed on our raffle tickets?

A: There are no specific requirements for details to be printed on tickets sold in an 'incidental non-commercial lottery'.

For a 'small society lottery' (tickets sold in advance), tickets must show:

  • The name of the promoting society (and the purpose of the lottery),
  • The ticket price,
  • The name and address of the organiser,
  • The date and place of the draw.

Q: We have alcoholic prizes - are there any other licence requirements to consider?

A: Not from a lottery perspective. If running your raffle as an 'incidental non-commercial lottery' and your prizes are in sealed containers a TEN would not be required, however you may need a TEN for other attractions at your event or if your event itself is considered 'regulated entertainment'. If someone who appears to be under 18 wins an alcoholic prize, checks should be made to verify their age and good practice is to withhold the prize until it can be given to someone of 18 or over. If selling tickets in advance, with alcoholic prizes, a TEN may be required – please contact us to discuss.

Q: Can children buy (or sell) raffle tickets?

A: They can in an 'incidental non-commercial lottery' but children under the age of 16 cannot sell tickets or participate in a 'small society lottery'.

Large society lotteries

Any lottery with proceeds of more than £20,000, or multiple lotteries run by a society with total proceeds of more than £250,000 in a calendar year, will be classified as large society lotteries.

We are obliged to notify the Gambling Commission of any such lotteries carried out by societies registered with us, and all subsequent lotteries run by the society in the following three years will need to be licensed by the Commission under an operating licence. Please see the Gambling Commission's website for further details about lottery operating licences.

For more information please read the following guide

Running a lottery quick guide

Contact us by phone on 01923 776611, or email us at