Licences and permissions Small society lotteries guidance

A small society lottery is required to register with the local authority where their principal office is located. This is the place where the normal business of running the society takes place.

Small society lotteries are lotteries promoted for the benefit of a non-commercial society. A society is non-commercial if it is established and conducted:

  • for charitable purposes; or
  • for the purpose of enabling participation in, or of supporting, sport, athletics or a cultural activity, or
  • for any other non-commercial purpose other than that of private gain.

There are several ways in which a non-commercial society can be set up. They might decide to:

A society set up as one of the above would qualify as a non-commercial society and be permitted to apply for a small society lottery registration.

It is not mandatory for a non-commercial society to set themselves up in the formal ways listed above. Societies that choose not to go down this route may be asked for evidence to establish that the society is non-commercial and not for personal or private gain. We may ask for:

  • a copy of their terms and conditions
  • a copy of their constitution to establish that they are a non-commercial society, and
  • a declaration, stating that they represent a bona fide non-commercial society.

We may also consider whether such a declaration is sufficient in the particular circumstances of each case or whether there are additional factors, such as an unusual or novel purpose of the society, which may suggest that further enquiry is needed.

Proceeds and other monetary limits

A small society lottery must apply a minimum of 20% of the gross proceeds of each lottery directly to the purposes of the Society. Up to a maximum of 80% of the gross proceeds of each lottery may be divided between prizes and the expenses of the lottery.

The maximum prize in a single lottery is £25,000. Up to £20,000 worth of tickets may be sold and the Society’s aggregate proceeds from lotteries must not exceed £250,000 a year.

Rollovers are permitted provided the maximum single prize limit is not breached.

Every ticket in the lottery must be the same price and the cost of purchased tickets must be paid to the Society before entry into the draw is allowed.

There is no maximum price of a lottery ticket.

Ticket Information

All tickets in a small society lottery must state:

  • The name of the society on whose behalf the lottery is being promoted;
  • the price of the ticket;
  • the name and address of the member of the Society responsible for the promotion of the lottery (the name and address of the External Lottery Manager if there is one may be given as an alternative);
  • the date of the draw, or the means by which the date may be determined.

Tickets which are issued through a form of remote communication or any other electronic manner must specify this information to the purchaser of the ticket and ensure that the message can be either retained or printed.

Financial Requirements

Every society registered with a local Licensing Authority to run small society lotteries must submit a statement providing the following information:

  • the date on which tickets were available for sale or supply and the date of the draw;
  • the total proceeds of the lottery;
  • the amounts deducted by promoters of the lottery in providing prizes, including rollovers;
  • the amounts deducted by the promoters of the lottery in respect of costs incurred in organising the lottery;
  • the amount applied directly to the purpose for which the promoting society is conducted; and
  • whether any expenses incurred in connection with the lottery were not paid for by deduction from the proceeds, and, if so, the amount of expenses and the sources from which they were paid.

A registered society’s statement must be sent to the Licensing Authority within three months beginning on the day on which the draw (or last draw) in the lottery took place. It must be signed by two members of the Society appointed in writing for that purpose by the society’s governing body and accompanied by a copy of that appointment.


The fee to register a small society lottery is £40. An annual fee of £20 is due each year on the anniversary of the registration of the society.

Attachments to be included with your application

None, though we may ask for evidence that the society is established for a non-commercial purpose and not for personal or private gain, as stated above.

Change of circumstances

You will need to notify us if the principal office of a registered society changes. If the principal office moves to a different local authority the society will need to register with that authority. 

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