Guide Guide to small society lotteries

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8. What must I do to comply with the regulations under the Act?

As the purpose of permitted lotteries is to raise money for non-commercial causes, the Act requires that a minimum proportion of the money raised by the lottery be channelled to the goals of the society that promoted the lottery.  If a small society lottery does not conform to these limits then it will be in breach of the Act’s provisions and consequently be liable for prosecution.

The legislation (paragraph 39 of schedule 11 in the Act) sets out the information that the society promoting a small society lottery must send to the licensing authority with which it is registered, following each lottery held. This information will allow the authority 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 licensing authority must make the returns submitted by societies in the preceding 18 months available for inspection by the public.

The licensing authority may receive numerous returns from some societies and therefore careful monitoring will take place to ensure that the cumulative totals for each society do not exceed the annual monetary limit.

If after receiving a return, the licensing authority is of the opinion that the ticket sales are shown to be above the prescribed limits, then they must notify the Gambling Commission in writing and should copy the notification to the society concerned.  The commission will then contact the society to establish whether they are going to apply for a lottery operator’s licence which would enable them to run large society lotteries legally.  The commission will inform the licensing authority of the outcome of its exchanges with the society.