Pendle Borough Council

Small Society Lottery Registration

Lottery Licencing

Does a lottery require a licence?

There are various types of lottery that may lawfully be promoted in the UK. Different types of lottery are subject to different requirements and may require regulation by different regulatory agencies as defined in the Gambling Act 2005.

Briefly, the types of lottery that can be promoted include:

  • The National Lottery - this remains the most popular gambling activity in the UK. It is entirely regulated by the National Lottery Commission
  • Large society lotteries - societies that run lotteries where the proceeds (i.e. ticket sales) in a single lottery exceed £20,000, or the proceeds in all lotteries run in  the same calendar year exceeds £250,000, are defined by the Gambling Act 2005 as running large lotteries, and as such, are regulated and must run under an operating licence issued by the Gambling Commission.
  • Local authority lotteries - these are lotteries operated by local authorities to support any purpose for which they have power to incur expenditure, and are regulated by the Gambling Commission.
  • Small society lotteries - these are where the proceeds (i.e ticket sales) in a single lottery are £20,000 or less and £250,000 or less in all lotteries in the same calendar year. They are exempt from holding a Gambling Commission operating licence but must be registered with the local authority in whos area the principal office of the society is situated. These lotteries must only be run in support of good causes, such as charity fundraising and cannot be run for private or commercial gain.
  • Exempt lotteries - these lotteries do not need to be in support of a good cause and do not require to be run under any operating license issued by the Gambling Commission, or otherwise require registration with any statutory body.

There are three categories of exempt lottery:

  • Incidental non-commercial lotteries - held at non-commercial events, where all money raised at the event goes entirely to purposes that are not for private or commercial gain
  • Private society, work or residents lotteries - where tickets can only be sold to society members, workers in or residents of a premises
  • Customer lotteries - run by occupiers of business premises selling tickets only to customers on the premises itself

How to apply for a lottery licence

The application fee is £40.00 with an annual fee of £20.00 payable on the anniversary of the date of grant.

Further information

The Gambling Commission has published leaflets with advice on running a small society lottery and promoting a small society lottery. You can download them from our website.

Contact us


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