Important Information

Small Society Lotteries are licensed under the Gambling Act 2005.

Under the act a Small Society Lotteries Licence is applicable to any 'non-commercial' Society who operate a lottery in which the total value of tickets to be put on sale per single lottery do not exceed £20,000, or the aggregate value of tickets to be put on sale for all lotteries in a calendar year do not exceed £250,000.

If the operator intends to exceed either of these values then they will be classed as a large lottery operator, and must be licensed with the Gambling Commission (external link) instead.

The promoting society of a small society lottery must, throughout the period during which the lottery is promoted, be registered with a licensing authority. The licensing authority with which a small society lottery is required to register must be in the area where their principal office is located. If a licensing authority believes that a society’s principal office is situated in another area, it should inform the society and the other authority as soon as possible.

The Gambling Act 2005 became law on the 1 September 2007 and replaced the Lotteries & Amusement Act 1976.

Societies, which fulfil the criteria outlined below and were required under Schedule 1 of the 1976 Act to register with the Licensing Authority, are designated as Small Society Lotteries under the Act:

  • You are a non-commercial society* 
  • In neither the current calendar year, nor any past three calendar years, the proceeds of any one lottery has been capable of exceeding £20,000, and the aggregate proceeds of all lotteries promoted by you has not exceeded £250,000. 
  • The lottery is promoted for the purposes of the society. 
  • At least 20% of the lottery proceeds are applied to the society purposes. 
  • No prize is greater in value than £25,000. 
  • Tickets comply with certain conditions, including that they are each of the same price. (GAMBLING ACT 2005 SCHEDULE 11 PARTS 4 (30)-(38)) 

* A Society is defined as a non-commercial organisation established and conducted:

  • For charitable purposes, 
  • For the purpose of enabling participation in, or supporting of, sport, athletics or cultural activity, or 
  • For any other non-commercial purpose other than that of private gain. (GAMBLING ACT 2005 s19) 

Under the Act, only Small Society Lotteries are registered with the Licensing Authority. If you believe that your Lottery Registration falls outside the definition of a Small Society Lottery, you should contact the Gambling Commission (external link) who will be able to provide more information regarding the licences required to run other types of lottery.

In accordance with the Gambling Act 2005, details of all lottery registrations with the Licensing Authority will be passed to the Gambling Commission.

Small Society Lottery registrations operate in a similar manner to the previous registrations; Return Forms are expected quarterly and the annual fee and a Scheme Form will be expected by 1 January for renewals.

Any valid Small Society lottery registrations must be presented with a Registration Certificate under the Gambling Act 2005.

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