Registration of Small Society Lotteries
Under the 2005 Act promoting or facilitating a lottery is illegal unless it is either (1) a licensed lottery, licensed by way of an operating licence from the Gambling Commission or (2) an exempt lottery under Schedule 11 of the 2005 Act, which includes "small society lotteries".
The Licensing Team is able to provide general guidance on the scheme but cannot assist you to complete your registration form or provide legal advice on whether a registration is required. Applicants should consult the gambling licensing webpages for general guidance before making any application.
In relation to applications received for lottery registrations the most common type of lottery is a raffle.
To qualify as a small society lottery:
- the lottery must be promoted wholly on behalf of a "non-commercial society";
- it must be a "small lottery"; and
- the other conditions of a small society lottery specified in Part 4 of the Gambling Act 2005 must be satisfied.
In order to qualify for this exemption, any non-commercial society promoting a small society lottery in West Lothian must, throughout the period during which the lottery is promoted, be registered with the Board.
If you are a non-commercial society and wish to promote a small lottery within West Lothian, you can apply to be registered with the Board.
Guidance issued by the Gambling Commission is also available in relation to fundraising with lotteries, raffles or gambling at events.
For the purposes of section 19 of the Gambling Act 2005 a society is non-commercial if it is established and conducted:
- for charitable purposes.
- for the purpose of enabling participation in or giving support to sporting, athletics or a cultural activity; or
- for any other non-commercial purpose other than private gain
In Scotland "charitable purposes" means purposes which are charitable purposes only (that expression having the same meaning as in the Income Tax Acts).
The Board does not consider that there is a clear legal definition of what constitutes a "society" for the purpose of small society lotteries. In the absence of a clear legal definition, the Board will rely on the dictionary definition of an organisation or club formed for a particular purpose or activity. Each application will be considered on its own merits. The Board will not accept applications from individuals for registration in their own name but will accept applications from individuals if they can demonstrate that they are an office bearer or authorised representative of a properly constituted non-commercial society. Please refer to Section 20 of the Board's statement of principles for the period 2022-25 for further information.
Applicants should refer to Part 4 of the Gambling Act 2005 before applying for registration to ensure that they meet the relevant criteria. A lottery is a small lottery if:
- the proceeds of it will not exceed £20,000;
- at the time when it is promoted (whether in whole or in part) the aggregate of the proceeds from society lotteries promoted wholly or partly during the same calendar year by the same non-commercial society do not exceed £250,000;
- the arrangements for it are such that it will not, during its promotion, exceed either of the above limits;
- the non-commercial society promoting it has not promoted (whether in whole or in part) a large society lottery i.e. one which exceeds the above limits during the same calendar year; and
- it is not being promoted in any of the three calendar years following a calendar year in which the non-commercial society promoting it has promoted a large society lottery
In addition, small society lotteries must also satisfy the following conditions:
- they must be promoted for any of the purposes for which the promoting non-commercial society is conducted;
- the arrangements for them must ensure that at least 20% of the proceeds are applied to a purpose for which the non-commercial society promoting them is conducted;
- it must not be possible for the purchaser of a ticket in them to win, by virtue of that ticket, more than £25,000 (whether in money, money's worth, or partly the one and partly the other);
- they may include a rollover only if each other lottery which may be affected by the rollover is a small society lottery promoted by or on behalf of the same non-commercial society; and
- the price payable for each ticket must be the same and must be paid before any person is given a ticket or any right to win a prize through the lottery. No other payment other than the ticket prize may be required before the right to win a prize through the lottery is given.
Small society lottery tickets must also contain specific information, as explained further below
Please complete the Small Society Lottery Registration Form available in the downloads section of this page. Before completing the form, please read the guidance notes attached to it. If you have not previously been registered, you may be asked to provide evidence to the Board of your status as a non-commercial society.
The registration fee is £40 and registrations run for an indefinite period.
An annual fee of £20 is payable for every subsequent year that if you wish to remain registered. Annual fees must be paid during the period of two months ending on the anniversary of registration. Failure to pay an annual fee may result in your registration being cancelled by the Board. You would then need to apply for registration again in order to qualify for the exemption enabling you to promote small society lotteries.
A copy of your application will be sent to Police Scotland. Applications which do not attract any adverse comments/objections are granted by the Clerk to the Board under delegated powers. All other applications require to be referred to the Board for determination. You will be advised if your application requires to be referred to the Board. The Board meets on a monthly basis.
Under the Gambling Act 2005 your application must be refused if in the period of five years ending with the date of your application an application for operating licence made by you to the Gambling Commission has been refused or an operating licence held by you has been revoked by the Gambling Commission. Your application may be refused if the Board thinks that:
- you are not a non-commercial society;
- a person who will or may be connected with the promotion of your lottery has been convicted of a relevant offence; or
- information provided in or with your application is false or misleading
Once you have been registered, we will send you notice of your registration and also notify the Gambling Commission as required under the Gambling Act 2005.
Under the Gambling Act 2005 purchasers of tickets must receive a document which:
- identifies the promoting non-commercial society
- states the price of the ticket
- states the name and address of a member promoting non-commercial society designated by them as having responsibility for the promotion of the lottery or, if there is one, the external lottery manager; and
- either the date of the draw (or each draw) in the lottery, or enables the date of the draw (or each draw) in the lottery to be determined
If a lottery is being conducted online, these requirements can be met provided that an electronic message containing the relevant information can be retained by the purchaser and printed.
Yes, lottery tickets may only be sold by persons aged 16 or over to persons aged 16 or over.
In accordance with guidance from the Gambling Commission, tickets should not be sold to a person in any street, which includes any:
bridge, road, lane, footway, subway, square, court or passage (including passages through enclosed premises, such as shopping malls).
Tickets may, however, be sold in a shop or in a street from a static structure such as a kiosk or display stand. They may also be sold door-to-door.
Yes, you must send the Board a statement during the period of three months beginning with the day on which the draw (or the last draw) in your lottery takes place. The statement must include:
- the arrangements for your lottery (including the dates on which tickets were available for sale or supply, the dates of any draw and the arrangements for prizes (including any rollover);
- the proceeds of the lottery
- the amounts deducted by you in respect of the provision of prizes (including the provision of prizes in accordance with any rollover)
- the amounts deducted by you in respect of other costs incurred in organising the lottery
- any amount applied to a purpose for which you are conducted; and
- whether any expenses in connection with the lottery were defrayed (paid) other than by deduction from proceeds and, if they were, the amount of the expenses, and the sources from which they were defrayed
The statement must be signed by two of your members appointed in writing for that purpose by you or your governing body and accompanied by a copy of that appointment.
You can find a copy of the Board's Small Society Lottery Return attached to the Board's application form for registration of small society lotteries available in the downloadable documents section of this page.
The return may be submitted either electronically to email@example.com or posted to West Lothian Licensing Board at the address in the guidance notes which accompany the application form. Please refer to the guidance notes before submitting your return.
The information contained in your statement will be checked as under the Gambling Act 2005 if, after receiving a statement, the Board thinks that the limits which apply to small society lotteries referred to above have been exceeded, the Board is required to notify the Gambling Commission of this in writing and to provide them with a copy of the statement.
Under the Gambling Act 2005 the Board is also required to retain your statement for a minimum period of 18 months and to make it available for inspection by members of the public and make arrangements for the provision of a copy of it or any part of it to any member of the public on request.
Under the Gambling Act 2005 it is an offence to promote or facilitate a lottery other than in accordance with the above requirements, liable on summary conviction to a fine and/ or imprisonment.
Further information is available on the Gambling Commission's website Fundraising with lotteries, raffles or gambling at events