Small society lotteries

Any non-commercial society that wishes to promote small lotteries, raffles, prize draws or similar, in order to raise funds for a purpose of the society, must be registered with us. 

To apply, you must have the authority to make the application on behalf of the society. 

The initial application fee is £40, and the annual fee due on the anniversary of the date of registration is £20. If you fail to pay your annual fee, we may cancel your registration, a notice will be sent to you formally in this instance. 

What you need to know about registering a non-commercial society lottery

To register, a Society must be non-commercial. A society is defined under s.19 of the Gambling Act 2005 as non-commercial if it is established and conducted:

  • for charitable purposes (defined under s.2 of the Charities Act 2006)
  • for the purpose 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

Please note applications will be refused, and you should therefore not make an application, if in the last five years: 

  • an operating licence held by the society has been revoked under section 119(1) of the Gambling Act 2005, or
  • an application for an operating licence made by the society has been refused

Your application may be refused if the local authority think that:

  • the society 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 is false or misleading

Filing of returns

After promoting a lottery, the registered small society must return details of that lottery to the local authority within three months of the date of the draw (or last draw).

If you employ an external lottery manager (ELM), they must be licensed by the Gambling Commission.

Further information about small society lotteries

Once we have received your application, we will ensure you comply with the requirements and your application will be sent to the Police for checks.

We will aim to process your application within 28 days of receipt. Once granted we will issue you with a registration certificate after the 28 day period.

If we refuse your application, you will be served a notice of this intention. Your application will then be determined by the Licensing Committee, where you will be invited to attend. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable time period please contact us.


To be classified as a 'small' lottery, each draw must meet the following requirements:

  • the proceeds from a single lottery must not exceed £20,000
  • the aggregate proceeds from lotteries promoted in a calendar year must not exceed £250,000
  • at least 20% of the proceeds of every lottery must be used for a purpose for which the promoting society is established and conducted

If a Society expects to exceed the above, they will be required to be registered with the Gambling Commission.

The maximum value of any prize allowed in a small society lottery is £25,000. Unclaimed prizes can be 'rolled over' to future lotteries run by the same society, providing that the prize limit is not breached.

Lottery tickets may only be sold by persons over the age of 16, to persons over the age of 16.

There are a number of exemptions from applying for a small society lottery which are: Incidental Non-Commercial Lotteries; Private Lotteries; and a Customer Lottery.

Every ticket sold in a lottery must be the same price, and the buyer must be given a document that identifies the promoting society, the price of the ticket, the name and address of a person responsible for the lottery, and the draw dates.


The applicant or the Society has a right to appeal the Licensing Authority’s decision to a Magistrate’s Court within 21 days of the notice of decision.

Contact the Licensing Team

0114 273 4264
Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm
Block C
Staniforth Road Depot
S9 3HD

Want to talk to someone right now?