Raffles and lotteries

Putting on a raffle at a fete or running your own lottery can be fun ways to get people to support local Girlguiding groups

What is a lottery?

If:
• people pay to enter a prize draw
• prizes are allocated
• the allocation of such prizes relies wholly on chance

then it will be a 'lottery' (also known as a 'raffle') and gambling regulation is engaged. Units can avoid promoting an unlawful lottery by meeting the requirements for an exemption or by registering with their local authority.

Small society lotteries

If a lottery is not run in connection with, and at, a particular event, or fall under one of the other exemptions set out below, the unit or area concerned needs to register with the local authority and an annual registration fee must be paid before it can run the lottery.

An individual will need to be designated as having responsibility for the lottery on the application to the local authority. This "promoter" must be a member of the unit or area and authorised in writing by the relevant Commissioner. The following other conditions must also be met.

  • The reasonable expenses incurred organising the lottery and the cost of prizes for that lottery may be deducted from the proceeds of the respective lottery however at least 20% of that lottery’s proceeds must go directly to Girlguiding.
  • The total proceeds from lotteries run by a single registered unit or area in any calendar year cannot exceed £250,000.
  • The maximum value of any one prize must not exceed £25,000.
  • Rollover lotteries are allowed but the total rollover prize must not exceed the maximum prize allowance above.
  • All tickets must be the same price (and there must not be any discounts). The total value of all tickets sold for a single lottery must not exceed £20,000.
  • No ticket may be sold by, or to anyone under the age of 16.
  • Every ticket must state the name of the unit or area, the name and address of the promoter, the name of the Local Authority authorising the lottery, the date of the draw and the price of the ticket.
  • No tickets must be sold on the street although they can be sold from kiosks. Units or areas should check with the Local Authority they are registered with if any other restrictions apply. Door to Door sales are permitted, but door-to-door sales law must be complied with. 
  • All participants in the lottery must have access, in writing, to the terms and conditions of the lottery.
  • All tickets must be paid for before the draw
  • Within three months of the draw, a return must be made to the Local Authority signed by two people authorised in writing by the unit or area. The return must include the following information:
    • the date on which tickets were put on sale
    • the date of the draw
    • the total proceeds of the lottery
    • the amounts deducted in providing prizes
    • the amount deducted for expenses
    • the amount applied for Girlguiding (at least 20% of the proceeds)
    • and whether any expenses incurred were paid from a source other than the proceeds of ticket sales and, if so, what that source was.

Lottery types that don't need to be registered with a local authority

Incidental lotteries

Incidental lotteries are raffles and draws which are purely incidental to an event – this can be a fete or a bazaar for example. Tickets can only be sold during the event itself, on the premises where the event is held.

All of the proceeds of the lottery must go towards Girlguiding although up to £100 may be deducted to cover expenses incurred in organising the lottery and up to £500 can be deducted from the proceeds to go towards prizes. Other prizes may be donated to the draw and there is no maximum limit on the value of these donated prizes.

The draw can take place at the event or after it has finished. However it should be made clear to participants when the draw will take place. The lottery cannot involve a rollover of prizes from one draw to another.

Private society lotteries

This type of lottery does not require a local authority registration but it can only be organised by a unit or area either to promote and raise proceeds for the unit or area or to raise funds for Girlguiding.

Tickets can only be sold or supplied to members of that unit or area who are in attendance at the unit or area’s premises or non-members on the unit or area’s premises. The lottery can only be promoted by a member of the unit or area authorised in writing by the relevant Commissioner. Advertising of the lottery can only take place at the unit or area’s premises.

The price must be the same for all tickets, so multi-buy offers, such as five tickets for the price of four, are not allowed. Tickets must be non-transferable and the ticket price must be paid to the promoter of the lottery before the ticket is issued. If the price has not been paid, there is no entry to the lottery (and no prize can be won). A ticket must be provided but there are no specific requirements for the contents of the ticket.

Work lottery

A work lottery does not require a local authority registration but it can only be promoted by people who work on a single set of premises (the ‘work premises’). Tickets can only be sold or supplied to other people who work on the work premises. All of the money brought in from ticket sales must either be used for the reasonable expenses of organising the lottery and prizes or raised for Girlguiding. Advertising of the lottery can only take place at the work premises.

The price must be the same for all tickets, so multi-buy offers, such as five tickets for the price of four, are not allowed. Tickets must be non-transferable and the ticket price must be paid to the promoter of the lottery before the ticket is issued. If the price has not been paid, there is no entry to the lottery (and no prize can be won). A ticket must be provided but there are no specific requirements for the contents of the ticket.

Residents’ lottery

A residents’ lottery does not require a local authority registration but it must be promoted by people who live in a single set of premises (the ‘residential premises’), for example a university hall of residence, a residential home, a sheltered accommodation facility, a nurses’ home or a mansion block, and tickets only sold or supplied to other people who live in the same residential premises (even if it is not their only home).

All of the money brought in from ticket sales must either be used for the reasonable expenses of organising the lottery and prizes or raised for Girlguiding. Advertising of the lottery can only take place at the residential premises.

The price must be the same for all tickets. Tickets must be non-transferable and the ticket price must be paid to the promoter of the lottery before the ticket is issued. If the price has not been paid, there is no entry to the lottery (and no prize can be won). A ticket must be provided but there are no specific requirements for the contents of the ticket.

Prizes

Care must be taken to ensure that prizes offered to participants are suitable. There is no restriction on offering home-made foods or toys but in either instance reasonable steps should be taken to see that they are safe.