Small society lotteries are required to register with the council and do not require a licence from the Gambling Commission as long as they meet the following criteria:

  • £20,000-worth of tickets or less are put on sale (organisers and promoters do not sell tickets to under 16s)
  • the society's aggregate proceeds from the lotteries do not exceed £250,000 a year

External lottery managers

Registered societies may use External Lottery Managers (ELMs) to run part or all of their lotteries such as making arrangements on behalf of a society or council.

All ELMs must hold a lottery manager's operating licence issued by the Gambling Commission before they can manage a licensed society or council lottery or a society lottery registered with the council. ELMs will also need to hold a remote gambling licence if they intend to sell tickets by means of remote communication (internet, telephone etc).

The use of an ELM to manage part or all of its lottery does not remove the society's responsibility for ensuring that the lottery is run lawfully and fully complies with all conditions and codes of practice.

Protection of children

Children should not be involved in the sale or purchase of small society lottery tickets, including lotteries run by schools or community organisations. Children cannot participate in a lottery by collecting or paying for their a parent's tickets.

This offence could involve a penalty of up to £5,000 or imprisonment for up to 51 weeks.

We recommend that each society have effective procedures to minimise the risk of lottery tickets being sold to children or giving tickets to children to sell. Measures should also betaken to check the age of potentially underage people buying lottery tickets and take action where there are unlawful attempts to purchase tickets.