A lottery is a kind of gambling where:

  • you need to pay to take part
  • one or more prizes are awarded
  • prizes are awarded by chance (and require no skill, judgement or knowledge).

Simple lottery

In a simple lottery:

  • people must pay to take part 
  • one or more prizes are allocated to one or more members of a class
  • the prizes are allocated by a process that relies on chance.

Complex lottery

In a complex lottery:

  • people must pay to take part
  • one or more prizes are allocated to one or more members of a class
  • the prizes are allocated by a series of processes and the first of those processes relies on chance.

Types of lotteries

A lottery is unlawful unless it is run following the conditions of a valid licence issued by the Gambling Commission or it is an exempt lottery. The exceptions are:

  • incidental non-commercial lotteries - run as an additional amusement at non-commercial events, with tickets sold only during the event, such as a raffle at a dance or church fair
  • private lotteries - restricted to members of a society, a place of work or a single residential unit, for example a raffle at a student hall of residence
  • customer lotteries - run by occupiers of a business for the benefit of the customers who buy tickets sold on the premises, for example a supermarket holding a hamper raffle
  • small society lotteries - run for charitable purposes but not for private gain
  • large society lotteries - require an operators licence from the Gambling Commission if the total ticket sales are over £20,000 or the proceeds of previous lotteries in the same calendar year is over £250,000
  • remote lottery - requires a operators licence from the Gambling Commission if players are allowed to take part online or by phone.

The Licensing Unit's responsibility

Medway Council's Licensing Unit is responsible for the registration of small society lotteries in Medway. These are non-commercial societies established and run for:

  • charitable purposes
  • the purpose of enabling participation in or of supporting, sport, athletics or a cultural activity
  • any other non-commercial purpose other than private gain.

Further information

For more information contact Licensing Services by emailing licensing@gravesham.gov.uk or visit the Gravesham Borough Council website.

You can also write to: Licensing Unit, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR.