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Date updated: 1/18/2021

Small Society Lotteries (non-commercial)

The Gambling Act 2005 requires non-commercial societies whose principal office is situated within The City of London to be registered with the licensing authority if they wish to run small society lotteries.

Registrations are for an unlimited period, unless the registration is cancelled by the Society or the Licensing Authority. Registrations are subject to the payment of an initial £40.00 application fee and a £20.00 annual fee.

Definition of a non-commercial society

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
  • the purpose of enabling participating in, or supporting of, sport, athletics or cultural activity
  • any other non-commercial purpose, other than private gain

Definition of a small lottery:

  • the proceeds of a single lottery must not exceed £20,000;
  • the total proceeds of all lotteries held in a calendar year, from 1 January to 31 December of the same year, may not exceed £250,000;
  • during the promotion of a lottery, the total proceeds of the lottery must not exceed £250,000 for that calendar year;

If a lottery exceeds the restrictions set out above it becomes a large society lottery, which is regulated by the Gambling Commission and requires an operating licence. A society may not promote a small lottery within the three calendar years after a lottery that exceeded the restrictions set out above.

Apply for a small societies lottery and lottery return

Application form and lottery return can be found below. 

Lottery returns should returned within three months of the lottery draw taking place, a society must submit a statutory return of the lottery to the Licensing Authority.


Incidental non-commercial lottery

A lottery is exempt if it is incidental to a non-commercial event where no private gain is made and:

  • only the prescribed sum for the cost of prizes and running the lottery are deducted from the proceeds
  • tickets for the lottery are only sold on the premises where the event is taking place
  • tickets for the lottery are only sold whilst the event is taking place
  • the results of the lottery must be made public while the connected event is taking place.
Small societies lottery application form PDF (57KB)
Date submitted: 3/04/20
Small societies lottery return form PDF (21KB)
Date submitted: 3/04/20