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Guidance notes for the holding of small, private and society lotteries.


These notes have been prepared to hopefully assist as an easy to follow
set of guidance notes for the following:

• Small lotteries held at an entertainment event;
• Private lotteries;
• Society lotteries.

This paper is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of the law so it is
recommended that you seek advice from the Councils‟ Licensing Officer or your
own Solicitor if you are in any doubt as to the legality of any lottery you are
intending to hold.

This paper has been prepared taking into account the changes to the law made
by the National Lottery Act 1993 and subsequent regulatory amendments.

Most of the law on lotteries can be found in the Lotteries and Amusements Act,
1976 (as amended by the National Lottery Act, 1993) and in the Lotteries
Regulations, 1993 (SI 1993 No.3223), both of which can be obtained from
Government bookshops.

Can I run a lawful lottery without registering with the Council?

Yes you can, in fact lots of clubs and societies make a great deal of money by
holding such events, this is how:

1.     A lottery is a game of chance, therefore, if the winner is decided wholly on
       skill, then it is not classed as a lottery, but a prize competition; for
       example, estimating the weight of a cake or answering a multiple choice
       question is a game of skill, so the lottery rules do not apply.

(Please beware of a prize competition where, although the first part depends on
skill, the final determination of winners is by lot or chance. In this instance the first
part would be a prize competition, but the second would be a lottery and may not
be lawful)

2.      Basically, there are three sorts of lotteries:
       a)      a small lottery held as part of a larger event (see below);
       b)      a private lottery (page 2);
       c)      a society‟s lottery (page 3).
(All have different rules to comply with, which are detailed later in the
paper and the lottery is illegal if you fail to do so)

The only lottery which requires you to register with Bolsover District
Council is (c) above - Society’s Lottery.

A Small lottery held as part of a larger event

The first type of lottery you can run is a simple “draw” or “raffle” during an event
such as a dance/fete or sporting event etc. The rules (which must be complied
with) for these events are as follows:

1.      The main incentive for people attending the event must not be so that they
        can take part in the “draw/raffle”;
2.      The profits from the “event” and from the lottery must not be for private
3.      No more than £250 of your ticket income must be spent on prizes;
4.      None of the prizes can be cash prizes;
5.      The sale of the tickets and declaration of the winners must take place
        during the event itself. Tickets may not be sold beforehand under any
6.      Cloakroom style tickets can be used;
7.      Tickets do not all have to be at the same price, for example, tickets can be
        sold at a discount for quantity;
8.      For this type of lottery there is no need to register with Bolsover District

Private lottery.

The second type of lottery is a private lottery where tickets are sold only to
members of an existing club or society or only to people who all work or live at
the same place. You cannot simply form a club or society merely to sell lottery
tickets to members.

The rules for these events are as follows:

     1. All the tickets have to have certain information on them. It is
        recommended that you get the tickets printed, but you can prepare them
        yourself on a photocopier. Each ticket must contain the following

        •      the price (all tickets must be the same);
        •      the name/address of the promoter;
        •      Sale of tickets are restricted to . . . . (name of club/society or
               workplace should be entered here);
        •      No prize won in this lottery shall be paid or delivered by
               the promoters to any person other than the person to
               whom the winning ticket was sold by them.

2.      Sale of tickets must be restricted to the club, society or place of work
        whose name is on the tickets.

3.     If it is a club lottery, all of the money taken from ticket sales (except
       printing expenses) must either be spent on prizes or given to the
       club/society running the lottery and used for the purposes of that club or

4.     If it is a lottery for people who work at the same place or live at the same
       place, all the proceeds, after the deduction of printing expenses, must be
       given out as prizes. Nothing can be given to any other organisation from
       the proceeds of this type of lottery.

5.     You cannot advertise the lottery outside the club, society or place of work
       in question.

6.     Do not send tickets by post.

7.     If your society/club is part of a national group every branch of the club
       counts as a separate club, so a Bolsover branch could not sell tickets to
       any other branch.

8.     There is no need to register with the Council for this type of lottery.

A Society Lottery

The third type of lottery (which requires you to register with the Council) is where
your society/club wants to sell tickets to the public and not just members of your
group or those attending an event. The rules for these events are as follows: -

1.     Register your society/club with the Council. The costs (at present) are
       £35.00 for the initial application which will cover you until the end of the
       year in which you apply and then £17.50 a year to renew which is payable
       on 1st January each year.

2.     A lottery scheme needs to be approved at a meeting of your management
       committee (or equivalent) stating how many lotteries you want to hold
       during the year and how much of the proceeds you intend to give away
       as prizes. Write down the name of the person who will promote
       or organise the events and the names of the two “responsible
       people” who will check your results. All three must be members
       of your Society.

3.     No more than 55% of your total income from sales of tickets may be given
       as prizes, but there is no legal minimum.

4.     Make sure that your expenses are never more than 35% of your total
       income from the sale of tickets.

5.     Make sure that no single lottery raises more than £20,000 and that the
       total value of tickets on sale in the same calendar year does not exceed

      £250,000. If you think you will be raising more on each lottery, or in any
      one calendar year, you must register with: -

      The Gaming Board for Great Britain
      Berkshire House
      High Holburn
      WC1V 7AA
      Telephone: 0207 306 6200
      Fax: 0207 306 6266

6.    All tickets must have printed on them:
      • the name of your society/club;
      • the name/address of the promoter organising the lottery;
      • the date of the draw when the winners will be announced;
      • the price of the ticket (max. - £2);
      • the ticket number;
      • the words “Registered with Bolsover District Council, No . . . .”
      • if your organisation is a registered charity, Section 3 of the Charities Act,
      1992 requires that, if your organisation has a gross income exceeding
      £5,000 per annum, you must also ensure that the ticket states that your
      organisation is a registered charity.

7.    No one under sixteen may buy or sell tickets on this type of lottery nor may
      anyone sell them in any street or other public place.

Instant Lotteries Only.

If you are having an “instant lottery”, where people buying tickets open windows
in the card or rub off a square to see if they have won, be warned - you must
have a “date of the lottery” on each ticket. It is advised to state a date a few
weeks ahead so that you can be sure you will have sold all or most of your
It is illegal to have sold an instant lottery card where anyone can tell
in advance which are winning tickets.

Weekly / monthly subscription lotteries only

If you are having a draw every week or month but your customers
keep the same ticket all the time, the following information should
be on the tickets:

      • Date of Lottery this ticket number will go into a “draw” every Saturday
      from now until December 20??, provided that the weekly/monthly price of
      £? is paid in advance of each draw made.

It is illegal to have a bonus prize which depends on buying several tickets at a
total price exceeding £2.00, or to have a bonus prize for weekly or monthly
subscription lotteries which depends on regular subscriptions.

All society’s Lotteries.

Sales of tickets in separate lotteries may overlap but do not start selling any
tickets more than three months before the date of the draw in your previous

Within three months of the date of the lottery, you must submit a completed
Return Form to the Licensing Officer at the Council. The three months begin
when the actual draw is made.

You must also submit a “nil” Return at the end of the year if you do not hold any
draws to indicate a „nil‟ Return.

Lottery managers.

Anyone who manages a society‟s lottery must either be a member of the society,
an employee, a company wholly owned by the society, a person certified by the
Gaming Board as a lottery manager or the employee of such a person.

If you require any further information or would like to arrange to meet the
Licensing team to discuss any aspects of the regulations please do not hesitate
to call us on 01246 242417

Associated Documents – Application for Society Lottery Registration.
                       Lottery Return


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