What is a society?
A society for the purposes of a lottery is one that is established and conducted for:
- charitable purposes
- the purpose of enabling participation, or of supporting, sport, athletics or a cultural activity or
- any other non-commercial purpose other than that of private gain
The proceeds of any lottery must be devoted to those purposes. It is not permissible to establish a society lottery whose sole purpose is to facilitate lotteries – it must have some other purpose.
What is a small lottery?
A small lottery is one where 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 a society’s lotteries in a calendar year must not exceed £250,000.
If the promoter aims to exceed either of these figures the lottery would be classed as ‘large’ and must be licensed by the Gambling Commission.
Small Society Lotteries must be registered with the Local Authority within whose area their principal office is situated.
What are the limits placed on Small Society Lotteries?
- At least 20% of the lottery proceeds must be applied to the purposes of the lottery.
- No single prize may be worth more than £25,000.
- Rollovers between lotteries are permitted but only when every lottery affected is also a Small Society Lottery promoted by the same society and where the maximum single prize does not exceed £25,000 or 10% of the gross proceeds.
- Every ticket in the lottery must cost the same and the ticket fee must have been paid to the society before entry into the draw is allowed.
What must be done to comply with the Gambling Act?
- Every Small Society Lottery must be registered with the relevant Local Authority. There is an initial registration fee of £40.00 and an annual fee of £20.00 to maintain your registration.
- At least the minimum proportion of the proceeds must be channelled into the beneficial purpose of the society. To do otherwise is unlawful.
- A Return must be made to the Local Authority with whom the lottery is registered.
What information is required on the Return?
- The date when tickets were made available.
- The date of the draw and the value of prizes (including donated prizes and any rollover).
- The proceeds of the lottery.
- The amounts deducted by the promoter for the provision of prizes and the costs incurred in organising the lottery.
- Details of any costs incurred which were not paid for from the proceeds, the amount of these costs and their source of funding.
- The amount provided to the purpose of the society.
The Returns Form must be sent no later than 3 months from the date of the draw or, in the case of Scratch Cards, no later than 3 months from the last date on which the tickets were on sale.
The Return must be signed by two members of the society who must be aged at least 18 years and have been appointed (in writing) for that purpose.
What are the rules concerning tickets?
Tickets may be physical or virtual (e.g. in the form of an e-mail or text message) and must provide the following information:
- The name of the promoting society.
- The price of the ticket.
- The name and address of the person designated as being the promoter of the lottery or, if there is one, the external lottery manager.
- The date of the draw.
- Tickets may only be sold by and to persons over the age of 16 years.
Tickets may be sold from a kiosk, from within a shop or from door to door. They must not be sold in a street.
A written record is to be kept of any unsold or returned tickets. This record to be kept for at least one year from the date of the draw.
What are the rules concerning prizes?
Prizes can be either cash or non-monetary. The amount of money deducted from the proceeds to cover prizes must not exceed the limits mentioned earlier.
The amount including the costs of running the lottery must not exceed 80% of the proceeds.
Donated prizes would not be included in this because no money would have been drawn from the proceeds to cover their purchase.
Can the Local Authority refuse an application?
YES for any of the following reasons:
- If an operating licence (issued by the Gambling Commission to the applicant) has been revoked or an application for an operating licence has been refused within the past 5 years.
- If the society concerned cannot be deemed non-commercial.
If a person who will be connected with the promotion of the lottery has been convicted of a ‘relevant offence’.
- If information provided in or with the application for registration is found to be false or misleading.
However if we are minded to refuse an application we will inform the applicant of our intention and reasons and give them the opportunity to make representations against refusal. The matter may need to be decided at a formal Hearing of the Council’s Licensing Committee.
Any decision made at the Hearing may be appealed through the Magistrates Court.
Offences under the Gambling Act involving Small Society Lotteries
- Misusing the profits of a lottery.
- Purporting to operate a Small Society Lottery when not registered, or failing to make the required returns, or making false or misleading returns.
- Obstructing or failing to cooperate with an authorised person.
Giving false or misleading information to the Commission or the Licensing Authority (Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council).
Making An Application
Should you wish to apply please complete the application form and return it along with the form of certified members duly signed by all parties. The fee for a new application is £40.00.
Application Forms & Guidance Notes
Small Society Lottery Guidance Notes.pdf
Lotteries and the Law.pdf
Form to Name Certifying Members.pdf