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Lotteries: sector specific compliance

Lotteries (or raffles) can only be run for good causes, they cannot be run for private or commercial gain.

Lotteries are defined by the Gambling Act 2005 as either ‘simple’ or ‘complex’. 

A simple lottery is where:

  • people are required to pay to take part
  • prizes are allocated to participants
  • prizes are allocated wholly by chance.

 A complex lottery is where:

  • people are required to pay to take part
  • prizes are allocated to participants
  • prizes are allocated by a series of processes the first of which relies wholly on chance. 

Large society lotteries and local authority lotteries require a licence from the Gambling Commission. 

Small society lotteries can operate under a registration with their local authority. 

Other types of lottery do not require specific permission but there are rules that must be complied with. 

Lotteries differ from other types of gambling activity in that the minimum participation age is 16 for the National Lottery, society lotteries, customer lotteries and local authority lotteries, as opposed to 18 for other types of gambling. 

Also see

Promoting society and local authority lotteries

Advice on promoting society and local authority lotteries

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