If you intend to run a lottery, prize competition or free draw for charitable purposes, you need to follow any gambling regulations that may apply, including laws relating to the
The law in England, Wales and Scotland
Lotteries include raffles, tombolas, sweepstakes and some other activities.
In the law of England, Wales and Scotland, a
- You must pay to enter the game.
- There is always at least one prize.
- Prizes are awarded purely by chance.
The Gambling Act 2005 created six categories of
Lotteriesheld at events (known as ‘incidental lotteries’).
lotteries. (Please note that, as customer lotteriescannot make a profit, they are not suitable for fundraising.)
lotteries. (These are run by local authorities and so are outside the scope of the code.)
Each type of
Sometimes, large charitable institutions outsource part of the work involved in running large-society
The law in Northern Ireland
There is no legal definition of a
Under the order, all
lotterieswhich are a small part of exempt entertainment (that is, entertainment which does not need a licence);
- part of the National
Each type of
12.1.Lotteries – general responsibilities
You must meet the relevant national legal requirements for lotteries.
You must make sure you are not running an illegal lottery.
To run an exempt lottery (one which does not need a licence), you must meet the conditions set out in law.
In England, Wales and Scotland, if you hold a licence for the type of lottery you are running, you must tell the Gambling Commission about any matters that will have a significant effect on your organisation or that the Gambling Commission would reasonably need to be aware of when carrying out its duties. For more information on what you need to tell the Gambling Commission about, see its licence conditions and codes of practice.
12.2.Role of the promoter
The designated individual
By law, the
12.3.Considerations other than the Gambling Act
If you are promoting society lotteries, you must meet the Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct and Promotional Marketing (CAP code) and the Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP code), including:
- CAP - 08 Promotional marketing;
- CAP - 16 Gambling;
- CAP - 17
- BCAP - 17 Gambling; and
- BCAP - 18
In Northern Ireland, you must not send tickets that have been sold for a private or society lottery through the post.
The draw must be witnessed and you should make a record of the result.
You must include all paid-for, valid ticket entries in the draw.
If you are going to transfer late entries to the next draw, you must be clear about this when you sell the ticket.
If, for any reason, the draw date needs to be delayed from that shown on the ticket, you must take all reasonable steps to make sure that everyone who has bought a ticket knows about the change, and you must discuss it with the issuer of the licence.
12.5.Procedure after the draw
You must return all filled-in ticket stubs and payments to the
You must not make details of winners public without their permission.
You must contact all winners within seven days of the draw.
You must make all reasonable efforts to award prizes to the holders of winning tickets.
12.6.Prize competitions and free draws
England, Wales and Scotland
The Gambling Act does not apply to prize competitions and free draws as long as they meet the conditions set out in the act. The Gambling Commission has no regulatory responsibilities relating to genuine prize competitions and free draws, but it does monitor the boundary between them and lotteries to make sure that schemes claiming to be prize competitions or free draws are not illegal lotteries.
To be a prize competition you must make sure that anyone taking part has a level of knowledge or judgement or displays an element of skill that will prevent a significant proportion of people from entering or from winning a prize.
To be a free draw the arrangement must either be completely ‘free’ to enter, as defined in the Gambling Act, or have a free method of entry, which must also be as accessible as and no less convenient than paying to enter. Anyone taking part using the free method must have the same chance of winning as they would if they paid to enter.
Northern Ireland operates under rules preventing any form of purchase that allows you to enter a prize draw. Often, promoters running UK-wide prize draws will exclude people in Northern Ireland from the promotion. For Northern Ireland prize draws, you must either exclude people who live in Northern Ireland or find a ‘no-purchase necessary’ way to promote the prize draw in Northern Ireland.