Top tips: don’t rely on luck for your pub lotteries

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Rules to follow: Lottery rollovers are not permitted
Rules to follow: Lottery rollovers are not permitted

Related tags: Lottery, Public house

As the festive season draws to a close and we look ahead to 2020, many operators will be planning promotions and activities for the coming year.

We have noticed more operators seeking advice regarding lotteries and ra­ffles that they wish to run in conjunction with events they plan to hold at their venue.

A lottery is a kind of gambling which has the following three key elements:

  1. You have to pay to enter the game
  2. There is always at least one prize
  3. Prizes are awarded purely on chance

The Gambling Act 2005 contains strict controls on the types of gambling activities that can take place at premises licensed for the sale of alcohol. Provided that you run your event within the strict criteria laid down by the act, it is possible for alcohol licensed premises to hold certain types of lotteries/ra­ffles without needing any additional form of licence or permit.

Listed below are some key points to remember when thinking about operating a lottery or raffle and, to assist, I have split these into two lottery/ra­ffle types that you could consider:

Customer lottery/raffle

  • Proceeds from tickets sales have to be spent on prizes (less deductions for reasonable expenses incurred, such as the cost of the tickets). Note that a customer lottery is not suitable for charity fundraising (you could consider a charity ra­ffle)
  • The maximum value per prize cannot exceed £50. The prize can be cash, goods or a mixture of both
  • Advertisements can only be on the premises. There cannot be any promotional material available outside of the premises itself
  • Tickets can only be sold to a customer when they are on the premises
  • Every ticket must give the name and address of the premises and the price of the ticket. It must also state that the tickets are only available to customers of the premises and that the ticket is non-transferrable
  • Only one draw per seven days is permitted to take place
  • ­The rollover of prizes is not permitted
  • Children under 16 cannot take part

Charity raffle

  • Must be provided as an incidental part of another event. This event does not have to be being held for charity but you must adhere to the limitations as its operation
  • A maximum of £500 can be deducted from ticket sales for prizes but additional prizes can be donated
  • A maximum of £100 can be deducted to cover any reasonable expenses
  • No rollover is permitted
  •  Tickets can only be sold at the time of event

Further guidance can be found on the Gambling Commission website.

For any legal enquiries please visit Poppleston Allen's website​.

Related topics: Licensing law

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