We have recently received queries from LAs about customer lotteries in pubs such as involving a “bonus ball” draw and “chase the ace” type games.
Under the Gambling Act 2005 (the Act) schedule 11 there are specific requirements about how lotteries including ‘customer lotteries’ can operate. Typically ‘bonus ball lotteries’ are ones which use the bonus ball drawn in the National Lottery main draw as a way of determining their lottery but this term can apply to any status of lottery and the promoter will need to comply with the legal requirements for whichever type of lottery is being promoted.
Chase the Ace type games typically operate by customers purchasing a raffle ticket at a set price. A draw takes each week with the winning customer invited to choose one of the envelopes pinned to the wall behind the bar. Each of these envelopes contains a playing card with any card other than the joker resulting in the customer winning a prize. Should the card picked be the joker, the customer wins the jackpot. Alternate versions see an Ace winning a jackpot prize.
We have seen both types of games being offered as rollover lotteries in order to boost the jackpot – this is unlawful.
Under the Act, schedule 11, part 3 the requirements for customer lotteries include:
- A customer lottery or raffle cannot make a profit so is not suitable for fundraising. All of the money collected through ticket sales must be used to pay for the prizes and any expenses incurred organising the lottery.
- the lottery can only be advertised in the premises where tickets are sold
- tickets can only be sold on the business premises to customers present in those premises
- tickets must not be sold to children under 16 years of age
- no prize can be more than £50 in value (whether in cash, non monetary prize or a mixture of both).
- no rollover of prizes from one lottery to another is permitted
- A draw cannot take place with seven days of the previous draw
- tickets must show the name and address of the organiser, the ticket price, any restrictions as to who may or may not buy a ticket, and state that the rights created by the ticket are non-transferable. They cannot be a cloakroom ticket and must be in a form as to prove the purchaser is entered into that specific lottery
Further information about customer lotteries can be found our guidance note ‘Organising Small Lotteries’.
Note that if the business is subject to a gambling premises licence customer lotteries are prohibited. The position is different in Scotland where customer lotteries can be promoted on licensed gambling premises, without an operating licence from the Commission.