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Advertising and promoting your lottery or raffle online

It may seem like an easy way to raise money or to have fun on your online social network but lotteries (which includes raffles, sweepstakes and some competitions) are a form of gambling and are subject to laws about how they can be run and who can run them. 

You may see lots of people running lotteries on social networks, like Facebook, but that does not mean they are lawful and you should be careful that you do not break the law by running an illegal lottery.  

Only for good causes

Lotteries in Great Britain can only be promoted for charities and other good causes. They cannot be promoted for private or commercial gain.  

Lotteries promoted on social media

Many of the lotteries we have seen promoted on social networking sites are unlawful and we work with those sites and the payment processors to close those lotteries down. As well as committing a criminal offence, the promoters of such lotteries may be breaching the terms and conditions of the site, so could have their profile removed.  

It is a criminal offence under the Gambling Act to promote an unlawful lottery

If you run or promote a lottery on a social network, you could be acting unlawfully and could face prosecution. If convicted, you could be fined, imprisoned or both.   

You may need a licence

The law sets out specific requirements for those running a lottery. You may need a licence from the Gambling Commission or a registration with a local authority. Make sure you understand the requirements before you start to run a lottery.  

If you are considering running a lottery online make sure it is lawful.  

How to make sure you stay within the law

Have a look in our fundraising and promotions section and look at the different types of lotteries/raffles. You can find advice on what is permitted and what is not.

Also see

Running a lottery

A quick guide to running a lottery

416 KB Download

Organising small lotteries

Advice on lotteries that do not require a licence or registration

238 KB Download

More information