Lottery licence

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A lottery is a distribution of prizes by lot or chance where there is no degree of skill involved, and the chance of winning is secured by a payment.

A Lottery is unlawful unless there is an operating licence issued by the Gambling Commission or it is an exempt lottery. The exemptions are:

  • Incidental non-commercial lotteries e.g. the raffle or tombola at a school fete or Christmas fayre;
  • Private society e.g. work or residents lotteries;
  • Customer lotteries e.g. a lottery run by someone running a business in this country;
  • Small Society lotteries, which are licensed by a local authority.

Further information on exempt lotteries

Society lotteries

These lotteries must only be run in support of good causes, such as charity fundraising and cannot be run for private or commercial gain. A society is non-commercial if it is established and conducted;

  • for charitable purposes;
  • to enable participation in, or to support, sports, athletics or cultural activities; or
  • for any other non-commercial purpose other than private gain

Small society lotteries - these are where the proceeds (ticket sales) in a single lottery are £20,000 or less and £250,000 or less in all lotteries in the same calendar year. These are exempt from holding an operating licence with the Gambling Commission but must be registered with the local authority where the Societies principal office is located.

Large society lotteries - these are where the proceeds (ticket sales) in a single lottery exceed £20,000, or the proceeds in all lotteries run in the same calendar year exceeds £250,000. These Lotteries require an operating licence from the Gambling Commission.

Associated Legislation

Requirements (Small Society Lotteries)

  • The Society is non-commercial and is registered with the local authority (see above)
  • The total value of tickets to be put on sale per single lottery must not exceed £20,000, or the aggregate value of tickets to be put on sale for all lotteries in a calendar year must not exceed £250,000;
  • The lottery is promoted for the purpose of the society.
  • At least 20% of the lottery proceeds are applied to the society's purpose.
  • No prize is greater than £25,000.
  • All tickets in a society lottery must state the:
    1. Name of the society on whose behalf the lottery is promoted;
    2. Price of the ticket (must be the same for all tickets);
    3. Name and address of the promoter for the society;
    4. Date of the draw;
  • Tickets not to be sold in the street:
  • Tickets not to be sold by or to persons under the age of 16 years.

Procedure (Small Society Lotteries)


Registration application form for non-commercial society lotteryOn request an application form will be forwarded to the applicant for completion.

  • The Society will need to appoint in writing a member to be the Promoter of the lottery.
  • The Society will also need to appoint in writing two members of the Society, being persons over18 years old, (other than the promoter), to certify returns.
  • The application form must be submitted to the Council with the appropriate fee.

If the promoter of the lottery or either of the authorized signatories changes please advise the Licensing Unit.


Return form for non-commercial lottery

On request a return form will be forwarded to the applicant for completion.

When a lottery has been held, the promoter must complete and send a return form to the Council, no later than the end of the third month after the date of the lottery. Details on the return form required include

  • the date on which the tickets were available for sale or supply;
  • the date of the draw;
  • the total proceeds from the lottery;
  • the amounts deducted by the promoters of the lottery for costs incurred in organising the lottery;
  • the amount applied directly to the purpose for which the promoting society is conducted (at least 20 per cent of the gross proceeds);
  • whether any expenses incurred in connection with the lottery were not paid by deduction from the proceeds and if so, the amount of expenses and the sources from which they were paid.

Duration (Small Society Lotteries)

One year

Current fee (Small Society Lotteries)

Initial registration application £40
Renewal £20 this is payable within the period of 2 months which ends immediately before each anniversary of the registration, otherwise the registration will lapse.

Cheques made payable to Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council (TMBC)

Further Information and to report any concerns

Phone: 01732 876026