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How to host a raffle

By Imogen Moss, solicitor, Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Advice given: there are a variety of things operators should know about hosting raffles in pubs (image: Getty/kevinjeon00)
Advice given: there are a variety of things operators should know about hosting raffles in pubs (image: Getty/kevinjeon00)

Related tags: Licensing, Poppleston allen, Charity, Legal

With the festive season upon us, many operators will be planning raffles. There are a number of rules venues must follow, so here are some top tips to ensure everyone remains a winner.

Charity Raffles

A charity raffle offered to your customers must be held at a specific event such as a Christmas party.  The larger event does not have to be held in aid of the charity itself but there are limits as to how the raffle can be provided including:

  • A maximum of £500 can be deducted from ticket sales for prizes although additional prizes can be donated.
  • A maximum of £100 can be deducted to cover the costs of any expenses such as tickets.
  • You must provide physical tickets to those taking part.
  • Tickets can only be sold at the location of the event and whilst the event is taking place. You can’t sell tickets online (which includes social media) or in advance of the event.
  • You can either make the lottery draw during or after the event. You should make it clear to participants when you'll be announcing the result of the draw.
  • There cannot be a rollover.

Workplace raffles

These can also be used to raise funds for charity but the following criteria must be followed:

  • There cannot be a rollover.
  • Raffles must only be run on a single set of premises.
  • All participants must work on those premises. 
  • You must provide physical tickets to each person participating. You cannot sell tickets online or via email for example.
  • People must pay the same price for each ticket and you can only sell physical tickets to colleagues when you’re all at your place of work.
  • The rights on the ticket must be non- transferable - you cannot pass your ticket to someone else.
  • The draw must take place on the business’ physical premises.

Note that if you work at a venue with a gambling premises licence you cannot have a lottery/raffle.

Customer lottery/raffle

  • You cannot make a profit from a customer lottery, and you also cannot use them for fundraising. All proceeds from tickets sales have to be spent on prizes (less deductions for any reasonable expenses incurred, such as the cost of the tickets). It is important to note that a customer lottery is not suitable for charity fundraising (instead you could consider a charity raffle – see below).
  • 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 online, via text message or 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 organiser 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 7 days is permitted to take place on the same business premises.
  • You can only run a customer lottery from a single set of physical business premises and the draw must take place on these premises. It can’t be done online.
  • The rollover of prizes is not permitted.
  • Children under 16 cannot take part.

Further guidance can be found on the Gambling Commission website where advice guides are available.

Related topics: Licensing Hub

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