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Part 5 - Is Your Raffle Legal?


Is Your Raffle Legal?

Part 5 of our Successful Guide to Running a Raffle will give you all the information, advice and resources you need to ensure your raffle is legal. When you’re at the stage of purchasing your raffle tickets, you need to make sure your raffle complies with the lottery legal requirements and that you have all the information you need to print on your ticket.

Understanding the legal requirements for running a raffle can be overwhelming and confusing. but don’t let this put off as running a raffle can help you to raise the vital funds you need for your organisation. This is why we have dissected the Gambling Commission’s, Running a Lottery Help Guide and chosen the information we believe is key to help our customers.

What is a lottery?

A lottery is a kind of gambling, which has three essential ingredients:

-You have to pay to enter the game
-There is always at least one prize
-Prizes are awarded purely on chance

A typical lottery is called a raffle where players buy a ticket with a number on. The tickets are then randomly drawn and those holding the same number wins a prize.

A lottery cannot be run for private or commercial gain, this means that you will either have to be a registered charity or you will need to be set up as a society if you are looking to be registered or licensed for a small society lottery.

For legal reasons, The Gambling Act has created 8 categories of lottery, each with their own rules and regulations. We have chosen the 3 main categories of lotteries that we believe you will most likely need for your raffle. More information on all 8 categories can be found on the Gambling Commission website.

Small Society Lotteries

A small society lottery requires a licence from your local council. The society in questions must be set up for non-commercial purposes, e.g. sports clubs, cultural or charitable organisations. You would need a small society lottery licence for any raffle event where you’re selling the tickets in advance.

Private Society Lotteries

A private society lottery must raise money for the purpose for which the society is conducted or to raise funds to support a charity or good cause. A football club raffle held and sold at an event at the football club, raising money for charities or the club itself would be a private society licence. This type of lottery does not require a licence.

Incidental lotteries

An incidental lottery does not require a licence from your council. These can be held at commercial or non-commercial events such as school fetes or village fairs. They must be raising money for charity or other good causes.

Each type of lottery has different rules so we have included a break down in the table below.

raffle legal lottery licence

For more legal information on running a raffle visit the Gambling Commission website or contact your local council.

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