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Societies who run small society lotteries, that is to say lotteries which are not large lotteries (essentially those in which £20,000 (or less) worth of tickets are put on sale where the society’s aggregate proceeds from lotteries do not exceed £250,000 a year) may operate without a Gambling Commission licence, however they must register with their local authority.

The purpose of permitted lotteries as set out in the Act is so that societies can raise money for causes that are non-commercial and therefore the Act requires that a minimum of the money raised by the lottery is channelled to the goals of the society that promoted the lottery. If a small society lottery breaches these limits, it will be in breach of the Act and will be liable to prosecution.

The limits placed on small society lotteries are as follows:

  • A small society lottery must apply at least 20% of the proceeds of the lottery to the purposes of the society.
  • The current limits mean that no single prize in a small society lottery may be worth more than £25,000.
  • Rollovers are only permitted where every lottery affected is also a small society lottery promoted by the same society, and the maximum single prize does not exceed £25,000.
  • Every ticket in the lottery must cost the same and the fee must be paid to the society before entry into the draw is allowed.