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Types of lotteries and their regulations

Published:
23 September 2020
Updated:
18 June 2021

Lotteries are a form of gambling. Raffles, tombolas and sweepstakes are all classed as lotteries.

Lotteries can only be run either to raise money for good causes or for fun. They cannot be run for private or commercial gain. 

Simple and complex lotteries

There are simple lotteries and complex lotteries, and both of these have different rules around how they are ran.

There are three factors in a simple lottery: 

  • you have to pay to enter  
  • there is at least one prize
  • prizes are awarded solely on chance. 

There are four factors in a complex lottery: 

  • you have to pay to enter 
  • there is at least one prize 
  • prizes are awarded by a series of processes, and the first process is based solely on chance. 

Who can take part?

The age limit for The National Lottery has recently been changed to 18 following a consultation. This includes all National Lottery games and products. You can read the consultation response on GOV.UK (opens in a new tab).

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Permitted lotteries
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