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Legal Q&A: Raffle rules and gaming machines

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Legal advice: tips on the position of gaming machines (image: Getty/halbergman)
Legal advice: tips on the position of gaming machines (image: Getty/halbergman)

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Poppleston Allen delves into the rules around hosting a charity raffle as well as locations of gaming machines.

Q: I run a country pub and the village residents are holding a village fete in the autumn, to raise funds for a local charity.  I would like to support the fundraising efforts by providing a raffle. Am I able to do this and are there any restrictions I need to consider?

A: Raffles can be used to raise charitable funds if they are held as an incidental part of a larger event, whether or not the event itself is commercial or not. Raffles can be held at events such as fetes and fairs.

The raffle can’t be the main reason for holding the event. It must take place alongside a commercial or non-commercial one-off event.

You are permitted to sell tickets to anyone in attendance at the event. There are some specific restrictions you must comply with:

  1. You must ensure that you provide a physical ticket to anyone taking part in the raffle. There are no specific requirements about what must be included on the ticket, you simply need to be able to identify the winning ticket.
  2. The tickets must only be sold at the actual event, while the event is taking place. You are not permitted to sell tickets in advance of the event, and you cannot sell the tickets online or via social media.
  3. You can take up to a maximum of £500 from proceeds to pay for prizes. Prizes can also be donated and there isn’t a limit on how much donated prizes can cost.
  4. You may not deduct more than £100 from the proceeds to cover expenses, such as the costs of tickets
  5. There can be no rollover of prizes from one event to another.
  6. You can draw the winning ticket during or after the event. It is a good idea to make it clear to participants when you'll be announcing the result of the draw.

Q: I have had a visit from my local licensing officer who has told me that I need to move my Category C gaming machine as it cannot be adequately supervised in its current position. My pub is quite small, and I have limited space to move things around. Do I need to move the machine?

A: You will need to look at the location of your gaming machine in accordance with the ‘Code of practice for gaming machines in clubs and premises with an alcohol licence’ which can be found on the Gambling Commission website.

The code sets out conditions that must be complied with when providing gaming machines as well as good practice points.

One of the conditions set out in the code requires that all gaming machines situated on the premises must be located in an area whereby their use can be supervised.

This is important as correct supervision will help to prevent under 18’s attempting to play on the category C machines. 

You will need to ensure that the machine is located in an area where it can be supervised and that you have arrangements in place for such supervision.

If you have an ATM on site you must also make sure that your machine is not located next to the ATM. Position your machine so that a customer must have to stop gambling at the machine in order to use the ATM.

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