Raffles & Lotteries

Raffles and lotteries are a great way to fundraise and bring in extra money at events, but there are laws surrounding them so before you start, there are some things you need to consider.

A lottery is the formal name for ‘a game of chance’ whilst a raffle is a colloquial name for a lottery, usually with no cash prizes. Lotteries come in many forms and are in general, regulated by the Gaming Board.

There are 2 types of lottery that can be held without permission from local authorities, police, Gaming Board or anyone else.


1) Small Lotteries/Raffles:

  • Can only be held at an event where the raffle is not the main focus of the event e.g. fete, dinner, dance or quiz night.
  • All tickets must be sold at the event and the winner must be announced before the end of the event
  • No cash prizes are allowed
  • Alcohol can only be used as a prize if everyone attending the event is over 18 years old
  • The maximum spent on prizes is £250 (excluding donated prizes)

The money made from raffles cannot be used for ‘private gain’ but can cover the following:

  • There is no maximum/minimum restrictions on the tickets price and tickets can only be sold to and by anyone as long as they are sold at the event only
  • The expense of the event being held
  • Cost of printing raffle tickets
  • Cost of providing raffles up to £250
  • Sponsorship for charity challenge events


2) Private Lotteries:

  • Must be limited to all those people who belong to one group e.g. a club or society or people work in the same premises e.g. sweepstake in the workplace
  • Every ticket must include the following: the names and addresses of the promoters, information regarding who can buy the tickets, a statement indicating that the tickets are non-transferable
  • The price of every entry must be the same but there is no restriction on the price charged for tickets
  • Tickets may not be sent through the post
  • Prices can include cash

In this case printing costs may be taken out of the money but otherwise the money made must go on prizes or the group (including the sponsored event).

Bingo, Whist Drives, Bridge Events etc

The following can be run ‘for purposes other than private gain’ if:

  • Each player pays only once and doesn’t pay more than £3. This means that you cannot charge for each separate game in a session.
  • More than one session in a 24-hour period would be considered as the same session
  • The total value of prizes does not exceed £300
  • Only a minimal amount of money can be deducted for running expenses


If you want to run any kind of lottery (raffle) where you sell tickets in advance, you must register with your local authority. They will send you a form with guidance notes. The fee for the first year is £35 with £17.50 renewal charge each following year.

This type of raffle allows extensive promotion and sales of tickets over an extended period of time and has the following restrictions:

  • You can’t hold more than one lottery at a time
  • The lottery must not be run for private gain
  • Total value of tickets must be less than £20,000 and you have to make returns to the council after the return of each lottery If the total value is more than £20,000 you will need to register with the Gaming Board
  • Each ticket must cost no more than £1, all tickets must have the name and address of the promoter on them, the name of the Society, the price, date of draw, the fact you have registered with the local authority and are registered under the ‘Lottery and Amusement Act 1976’ and a registration number
  • Tickets can only be sold by, and to, people of 16 years old and over and must not be sold in the street or in any kind of gambling establishment

 Please contact us if you are unsure of anything to do with Raffles & Lotteries.