FAQs raffles and lotteries
Running a raffle at events can boost profits, whilst
also building links with local businesses. As raffles fall under
the terms of the Gambling Act 2005, we asked the Gambling
Commission - what do PTAs need to know?
A lottery is a kind of gambling which has three essential
you have to pay to enter the game,
there is always at least one prize,
prizes are awarded purely on chance.
A typical 'small society lottery' is a raffle
where players buy a ticket with a number on it. The tickets are
randomly drawn and those holding the same numbered tickets win
prizes. Another version is a sweepstake - for example where the
participants pay to randomly pick a name in a 'guess the name of
the teddy' game. The person who guesses the winning name wins the
An 'incidental non-commercial lottery' doesn't
require any permissions or licences. These are held at
non-commercial events, such as school fêtes. All ticket sales and
draws must take place during the event.
A 'small society lottery' requires a licence
from your local authority. The society in question must be set up
for non-commercial purposes, i.e. charitable.
Do we need a lottery licence to run a raffle at our fair?
If running a raffle where tickets are NOT sold before the event,
this falls under the terms of an 'incidental non-commercial
lottery'. As such, you will not require a licence or any specific
permissions. However, you must adhere to the following rules:
All tickets must be sold at the location during the event and
the result made public while the event takes place.
The promoters of the lottery cannot deduct more than £100 from
the proceeds in expenses incurred, such as for the cost of printing
tickets, hire of equipment, etc.
No more than £500 can be spent on prizes (but other prizes may
be donated) and the raffle cannot involve a rollover of prizes.
If selling tickets prior to the event, this falls under the
terms of a 'small society lottery' and a licence is required - see
Can we sell tickets before the event?
If you're planning to sell tickets prior to the event and the
proceeds (from ticket sales) for a single draw are not anticipated
to exceed £20,000 then you must register with your local authority
as a 'small society lottery'. You would need to pay a small fee and
comply with a range of regulatory requirements including providing
entrants to the lottery with tickets stating specific information
(see below) and preventing children under the age of 16 from
participating. If the proceeds for a single draw were to exceed
£20,000 you would require a 'large society lottery' licence from
the Gambling Commission.
Are there specific details that MUST be printed on our raffle
There are no specific requirements for details to be printed on
tickets sold in an 'incidental non-commercial lottery'.
For a 'small society lottery' (tickets sold in advance), tickets
must show the name of the promoting society (and the purpose of the
lottery), the ticket price, the name and address of the organiser
and the date of the draw.
We have alcoholic prizes - are there any other licence
requirements to consider?
Not from a lottery perspective. Obviously alcoholic prizes
cannot be given to under 18s, but you would need to check with your
local authority for any further requirements.
ADVICE FROM LICENSING OFFICE: As long as your prizes are in
sealed containers a TEN would not be required, however you may need
a TEN for other attractions at your event or if your event itself
is considered 'regulated entertainment'. If someone who appears to
be under 18 wins an alcoholic prize, checks should be made to
verify their age and good practice is to withhold the prize until
it can be given to someone of 18 or over.
We are selling raffle tickets at our event, with alcoholic
prizes - does it matter if my son is sitting on the stall with
If the lottery is being run as an 'incidental non-commercial
lottery' then this would be allowed from a lottery/raffle point of
view. This is not an issue for the Licensing Act 2003.
Do we need to be a charity in order to run a raffle?
You do not need to be a registered charity to run a
raffle/lottery, however they cannot be run for private or
commercial gain. You will need to set up as a society if you are
looking to be registered or licensed as a 'small society
Can children buy (or sell) raffle tickets?
They can in an 'incidental non-commercial lottery' but children
under the age of 16 cannot sell tickets or participate in a 'small
We've had to postpone our event, can I put back the draw of our
If you are registered with your local authority to run a 'small
society lottery', then you need to contact them in case they have
specific terms and conditions you must adhere to. If you put back
the date of the draw, it will need to take place as soon as
practicably possible. You must make every attempt to notify those
who have purchased tickets in the lottery/raffle of the change to
the draw date. The notification may be through a number of channels
including email, a telephone/text message, your website, a
newsletter and your local newspaper.
Can we sell raffle/tombola tickets for 50p each or three for
Tombolas are often run at non-commercial events, such as school
fetes, and so normally offered as a type of lottery called an
'incidental non-commercial lottery' under the Gambling Act 2005.
Although there are other rules for this type of lottery, the only
requirements regarding tickets are that they are sold at the place
where the event is held, while the event is taking place. Under the
Act there is no reference to ticket pricing so it is acceptable to,
for example, charge 50p for one ticket, £1 for three tickets.
Similarly, if during the latter stages of the event there were
still prizes left, there are no restrictions on reducing prices of
tickets further in order to sell them.
For more information
More details about running a raffle for fundraising can be found
in the 'Lotteries FAQs' section on the Gambling Commission website
contact the licensing officer at your local authority.
The above is intended as guidance only. We
recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific
reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child
protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held
responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on
the guidance provided.
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