Due to the impact Covid-19 is having on operations across the UK we have had to reduce our phoneline opening hours.

Our phonelines are open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 10 am and 4 pm.

The contact us service is also available for answers to common questions and we will aim to respond to these enquiries as quickly as possible.

If you have a question about your gambling, or the gambling of someone close to you, our FAQs from gambling consumers during lockdown may provide valuable information. Our what we do page also provides an overview of the types of queries we are able to help consumers with in the first instance.

The National Gambling Helpline is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through GamCare. It is there to support those suffering from gambling problems or those concerned about the affect gambling is having on people close to them. You can call them free on 0808 8020 133, or visit gamcare.org.uk.

If you are a gambling operator please read our Frequently Asked Questions for gambling businesses.
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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. 

Advice note on ‘Lottery products and particular appeal to children' (July 2019). 

Also see

Promoting society and local authority lotteries

Advice on promoting society and local authority lotteries

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Important reading