Small lottery licences

The Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976 controls the conduct of small lotteries, raffles, etc, by societies seeking to raise money for charitable, sports and other similar purposes, other than for personal gain.

The society – on whose behalf the lottery is promoted – must first be registered with the council if their head office is within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

Registering a society

The Council may register a society which is established for one of the following purposes:

  • charitable purposes
  • participation in or support of athletic sports or games or cultural activities
  • purposes which are neither for private gain nor commercial undertaking, but not described in the above paragraph (1) or (2)

If the total amount of chances sold for any one lottery is less than £20,000, or the total for all lotteries held in a calendar year is less than £250,000, then the society must register with the council.

If a society wishes to run lotteries which exceed these amounts, they must register with the Gaming Board. All further lotteries of whatever size held in that calendar year or the three following calendar years must be promoted under the board's registration. During this time, the society will not be able to change to a local authority registration.

Application for registration must be made to the council and a registration certificate will be issued unless:

  • The society does not appear to be established for the purposes for which a registration may be granted
  • The Gaming Board has refused or revoked the registration of the society within The last five years (except where the refusal was on the grounds of non-payment of fees)
  • False information has been given by the society in connection with its application for registration.
  • A person connected with a lottery has been convicted of:
  1. An offence under sections 2 or 13 of the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976;
  2. An offence under paragraph 14 of Schedule 1, paragraph 14 of Schedule 1A, paragraph 8 or 9 of Schedule 2, or paragraph 12 of Schedule 2A to the Act, or paragraph 12 of Schedule 7 to the Betting and Gaming Act 1963;
  3. An offence under section 42 or 45 of the 1963 Act; or
  4. An offence involving fraud or dishonesty

If the Council proposes to refuse to register a society, it will first give the society the opportunity for a hearing, and will eventually notify its decision to the society. If registration is finally refused, the society has a right to appeal to the Crown Court, except where the Gaming Board has refused or revoked the society's registration.

If the society is registered, the council may subsequently decide that the registration should be revoked if the society no longer falls within the provisions of section 5 of the act or if any person is convicted of an offence mentioned above. In such cases, the procedure applicable to the refusal of a registration applies.

When applying for a registration, the society must pay a registration fee. Currently the fee is £40, the renewal fee is £20.

A society may employ an external lottery manager to undertake the running of a lottery on its behalf. The persons who may manage a society's lottery are:

  • A member of the society
  • An employee of the society
  • A company that is wholly owned by the society
  • A person certificated as a lottery manager by the Gaming Board under section 2A to the act
  • An employee of a certificated lottery manager acting in the course of his employment.

Applications for certification of lottery managers should be made to the Gaming Board.

Lottery returns

When a lottery has been held, the promoter must complete and send a return form to the council not later than the end of the third month after the date of the lottery.

The return must be certified by two members of the society (other than the promoter) who are 18 years old or older, appointed in writing by the society's governing body.

Lottery return form (PDF 25k)

Offences and penalties

Any breaches of the conditions of a society's registration constitute an offence for which the promoter and any person who is a party to any breach of conditions will be liable to prosecution (unless the contravention took place with or without his or her knowledge). If found guilty, they may be fined up to £5000, imprisoned for up to two years, or both.

Further information

Copies of the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976 can be obtained from Office of Public Sector Information.  Or a copy can be inspected at the Council offices where you may also obtain details of the fee, an application form and further help or advice.

Alternatively, you can download a copy of the application form (PDF 255k).

You will be contacted in writing on receipt of the application form.

Contact us:

Tower Hamlets Licensing Team
Mulberry Place
PO Box 55739
5 Clove Crescent
London E14 1BY

Opening hours are: 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday

Tel: 020 7364 5008
Fax: 020 7364 0863