Small society lottery registration

The definition of a small society lottery breaks down into two distinct areas:

Society status

The society in question must be ‘non-commercial’ which means it must be established and conducted for at least one of the following purposes:

  • For charitable purposes (as defined by Section 2 of the Charities Act), or
  • 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 that of private gain        

Size of lottery

The total value of tickets to be put on sale per single lottery must be £20,000 or less, or the aggregate value of tickets to be put on sale for all their lotteries in a calendar year must not exceed £250,000. If the operator plans to exceed either of these values then they will be classed as a large lottery operator, and must be licensed with the Gambling Commission.

Management and Operation of Lottery

The limits placed on small society lotteries are as follows:

  • 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
  • Rollovers between lotteries are only permitted where every lottery affected is also a small society lottery      promoted by the same society, and the maximum single prize is £25,000, and
  • Every ticket in the lottery must cost      the same and the ticket fee must be paid to the society (i.e. the society must take payment) before entry into the draw is allowed


Lotteries may involve the issuing of physical or virtual tickets to participants (a virtual ticket being non-physical, for example in the form of an email or text message). A purchaser of a small society lottery ticket must receive a document which identifies:

  • The name of the promoting society
  • The price of the ticket (must be the    same for all tickets); there is no maximum price
  • 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 requirement to provide this information can be satisfied by providing an opportunity for the participant to retain the message electronically or print it.


Prizes awarded in small society lotteries can be either cash or non monetary. The amount of money deducted from the proceeds of the lottery to cover prizes must not exceed the limits set out by the Act - i.e. that combined with any expenses incurred with the running of the lottery, such as manager’s fees, they must not comprise more than 80% of the total proceeds of the lottery. Donated prizes would not be counted as part of this 80% (as no money would be withdrawn from the proceeds to cover their purchase) but should still be declared on the return following the lottery draw.  Small society lottery operators should check with local police if they wish to award items containing alcohol as prizes. This is in order to ensure that licensing law is not breached.


The following information must be sent by the registered society as returns to the council following each lottery held. This information will allow the council to assess, in particular, whether financial limits are being adhered to and to ensure that any money raised is being applied for the proper purpose:

  • The arrangements for the lottery - specifically the date on which tickets were available for sale or supply, the dates of any draw and the value of prizes, including any donated prizes and any rollover
  • The proceeds of the lottery; the amounts deducted by the promoters of the lottery in providing prizes, including prizes in accordance with any rollovers; the amounts deducted by the promoters of the lottery in respect of costs incurred in organising the lottery; whether any expenses incurred in connection with the lottery were not paid for by deduction form the proceeds, and, if so, the amount of expenses and the sources from which they were paid; and the amount applied to the purpose for which the promoting society is conducted (this must be at least 20% of the proceeds)


The fee to accompany an application for registration is £40.00.

Each year, in order to maintain the registration, an Annual Fee of £20.00 will be payable.

To obtain a Registration Form you can contact the Licensing Department, or you can download a form below.

Application for Lottery Licence

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