Running lotteries and raffles during the festive season

With the Christmas and New Year festivities approaching, the Gambling Commission has published on its website advice on running lotteries and raffles during the festive season. The advice states as follows:

With the festive season approaching we know many people are looking at ways they can raise money for a charity. Lotteries (including raffles and tombolas) are a popular way of doing this but there are rules on how you can operate them lawfully.

So, if you are looking to raise money for charity, the key points to remember are:

  • lotteries/raffles/tombolas cannot be run for private gain they can only be run for charitable purposes
  • anyone running lottery that permits the sale of tickets before an event, or away from the place where the event is held, is going to need either a licence from the Gambling Commission or registration with their local authority
  • there are limits in place for how much you can spend on ticket sales for a single prize (but no limits on donated prizes)
  • all tickets must cost the same (unless they are run at a specific event – these are called incidental lotteries) and a ticket must be provided for each entry
  • if you are a business running a lottery for your customers, you cannot run them for profit or for good causes – all the money from ticket sales must be spent on prizes or expenses
  • you cannot roll over unallocated or unclaimed prizes to another lottery unless you are running your lotteries under a Gambling Commission licence or local authority registration.

Read more in our quick guide on running a lottery.

You can download below a copy of the Commission’s webpage containing the above advice. More detailed advice on lotteries that do not require a licence or registration is contained in an April 2016 advice from the Gambling Commission, entitled “Organising small lotteries” (that you can also download below).