Small society lotteries
Small lotteries (i.e. raffles and 100+ club type draws) by societies raising money for charitable, sporting, cultural and other similar purposes, other than for private gain are controlled by Schedule 11 of the Gambling Act 2005.
The society on whose behalf the lottery is promoted should be registered with the Council (if their Head Office is within the Council District) before any lotteries are conducted.
A minimum of 20% of the proceeds must go to the good cause for which the society is established. This should always be the first deduction from your raffle proceeds as if too much is deducted for prizes and costs then the charitable donation may be under 20% and make the lottery unlawful.
Checking your society registration number and annual fee date
Registered societies can check their registration number and annual fee due date by contacting us. Annual fee reminders are not issued - it is the responsibility of the society promoter and draw organisers to ensure that annual fees are paid on time (or else the registration will automatically lapse).
Exemptions under the Gambling Act 2005
Certain exemptions may apply to some types of lottery, such as an incidental non-commercial lottery, a private lottery or customer lottery. For example, a raffle held at a school fete where all of the proceeds of the event will go entirely to purposes that are other than private gain may be an exempt lottery.
The Gambling Commission has produced two general information documents ‘A quick guide to running a lottery’ and ‘Advice on lotteries that do not require a licence or registration’ outlining the various types of lottery (raffles, tombolas, sweepstakes and more). Only small society registrations can be registered by the Council. Further information is available on the Gambling Commission's website.
The prescribed fee for a new registration is £40 and an annual fee of £20 (payable to the appropriate Council - 'Babergh District Council' (if your head office is in Babergh district) or 'Mid Suffolk District Council' (if your head office is in Mid Suffolk district)) is required each year thereafter to continue the registration. The annual fee is normally due on 1 January each year or else on the anniversary of the grant of the registration.
Non-payment of annual fees will result in automatic lapse of the registration. Societies late with the statutory £20 annual fee payment will need to re-register and a £40 registration fee will then apply.
Licence fees may be paid by credit or debit card. Please contact the Licensing Team direct if you wish to pay by this method.
Registration forms, returns forms and guidance
The Licensing Team has produced the following documents for information and small society lottery registration purposes:
- Guidance document for small society lottery societies
- Advice on lotteries and children (Under 16's must not participate in a lottery)
- Registration form for small lotteries (opens in PDF format)
- Registration form for small lotteries (same document, but opens in Microsoft Word format)
- Small Society lotteries returns form (opens in PDF format)
- Small Society lotteries returns form (same document, but opens in Microsoft Word format)
- List of Small Society Lottery Officers (opens in PDF format)
For more detailed information on lottery (including advertising your lottery online), please visit the Gambling Commission's website.