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Lotteries and Small Society Registration - guidance notes

A lottery also known as a raffle or draw is a kind of gambling that has three essential elements:

  • payment is required to participate
  • one or more prizes are awarded
  • those prizes are awarded by chance


Lotteries cannot be run for private or commercial gain



There are lotteries that do not require a licence or registration, namely:

(1) incidental non-commercial lotteries - commonly held at charity fund raising events. Tickets can only be sold at the location and during the event. The results of the lottery can be drawn at the event or after it has finished. It is recommended that the organisers of the lottery make it clear to participants when the result of the lottery will be decided.

(2) private lotteries

  • private society lotteries - only members of the society and those on society premises can participate in the lottery
  • work lotteries - only people who work together on the same premises may participate
  • residents' lotteries - only people who live at the same premises may participate

(3) customer lotteries - only customers at the business premises may participate


Small Society lotteries

Society lotteries are lotteries promoted for the benefit of a non-commercial society. Such societies are organisations that have distinct aims and objectives and meet the definition of a non-commercial society set out in the Act.

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

  • for charitable purposes
  • for the purpose of enabling participation in, or of supporting, sport, athletics or a cultural activity
  • for any other non-commercial purpose other than that of private gain.

Proceeds must not exceed £20,000 for a single draw and aggregate proceeds from lotteries must not exceed £250,000 in any one year. If you belong to a society or club that wants to run regular lottery draws or raffles, you must register with your local licensing authority to run a small society lottery.


Limits Placed on Small Society Lotteries

  • At Least 20% of the lottery proceeds must be applied to the purposes of the society
  • No single prize may be worth more than £25,000
  • Every ticket must cost the same and must be paid in advance of the draw. There is no maximum ticket price


Ticket information

All 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 member of the society responsible for the promotion of the lottery
  • the date of the draw

Lottery tickets must not be sold to, or by, those under the age of 16.



  • If you belong to a small society that would like to apply for a lottery registration you must apply for registration in the authority where the society's principal office is located.
  • The same rules apply wherever the society is based.
  • For Powys applications please use the downloadable application form and return it to the relevant area office along with the initial fee of £40. You may enclose a cheque made payable to Powys County Council or call the relevant office and ask to make a card payment over the telephone.
  • Once an application has been received and processed a Small Society Lotteries Registration Certificate will be issued.
  • When considering an application the authority will have regard to whether or not the society is deemed to be non-commercial.


Annual Fee

After each year of registration, should the society wish to continue to be registered, the annual fee, currently £20, must be paid within two months of the anniversary of the registration. A reminder will be sent to the society when the fee becomes due.



Every society registered with a local authority to run small society lotteries must submit a return providing the following information:

  • the date on which tickets were available for sale or supply and the date of the draw
  • the total proceeds of the lottery (remote and non remote)
  • the amounts deducted by promoters of the lottery in providing prizes, including rollovers
  • the amounts deducted by the promoters of the lottery in respect of costs incurred in organising the lottery
  • the amount applied directly to the purpose for which the promoting society is conducted or for which the local authority has power to incur expenditure (at least 20% of the gross proceeds)
  • whether any expenses incurred in connection with the lottery were not paid for by deduction from the proceeds, and, if so, the amount of expenses and the sources from which they were paid.





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