Small Society Lotteries whose total value of ticket sales for a single draw is less than £20,000 and less than £250,000 per annum can register with the licensing authority in whose area the head office of the fundraising group is located.

Large lotteries

Societies whose ticket sales for a single draw exceeds £20,000 and £250,000 per annum must instead obtain a lottery operators licence from the Gambling Commission.


The applicant (organiser) of the small society lottery must be registered with the licensing authority in whose area the head office of the society is located.

The law allows non-commercial small society lotteries to raise funds for those purposes registered for one or more of the following reasons:

  • for charitable purposes
  • for the purposes 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

An application for a lottery registration can be refused if an operating licence held by the applicant for registration has been revoked or an application for registration has been refused, within the past 5 years.

A licensing authority may also refuse an application if:

  • the applicant is not a non-commercial society
  • a person who will or may be connected with the promotion of the lottery has been convicted of a relevant offence
  • information provided in or with the application for registration is false or misleading 

The current application fee is £40

Selling of tickets

Lottery tickets may only be sold by any persons over the age of 16 to persons over the age of 16. Tickets can be sold from a kiosk, in a shop and door to door. They should not be sold in a street, which is defined as including any bridge, road, footway, subway, square, court or passage (including passages through enclosed premises such as shopping malls).


There is no price limit on tickets prices, but they must all cost the same.


  1. must identify the society
  2. state the price of the ticket
  3. state the name and an address of a member of the society who is designated, by persons acting on behalf of the society, as having responsibility within the society for the promotion of the lottery, or, if there is one, the external lottery manager
  4. either states the date of the draw or enables the date of the draw to be determined

Limits of small society lotteries

If you purchase a ticket to win a small society lottery no single prize may be worth more than £25,000.

A rollover is allowed if prize funds from one lottery to another are promoted by the same lottery, provided the maximum single prize does not exceed £25,000 or 10% of the gross proceeds.

The sale of tickets can be sold by an automated process.

The lottery must be promoted for the purposes for which the society is conducted and at least 20% of the proceeds must be used for those purposes.

Filing of records

Within three months beginning with the day on which the final draw takes place, the society must send to the relevant local authority a return containing information regarding each lottery.

The return must be signed by two members of the society who are appointed for that purpose in writing by the society, or its governing body and each statement must be accompanied by a copy of that appointment. Written records of any unsold or returned tickets should be retained by the society for a period of one year from the date of the lottery draw.

It is an offence not to submit a return for each lottery held

For further information please contact the licensing office on 0115 915 6571.