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Small society lotteries

A raffle or prize draw where tickets are printed and sold in advance requires a small society lottery registration with us.

If you run a small society lottery, you cannot have more than £20,000 worth of tickets on sale at any time and also must not exceed the £250,000 a year limit for ticket sales. If your society is to exceed the £250,000 a year limit, you will have to apply to the Gambling Commission for a licence. Other applicable regulations are:

  • At least 20% of the lottery proceeds must be applied to the purposes of the society
  • No single prize can be worth more than £25,000 (even if the prize is donated)
  • Prizes can be rolled over to another lottery run by the society, but that prize cannot become worth more than £25,000
  • Every ticket in the lottery must cost the same e.g. £1.00, and the society must have received payment for the ticket before entry is allowed into the draw
  • Tickets can be sold door to door, online, by telephone, or face to face, but tickets cannot be sold in the street
  • Tickets can only be sold to people aged 16 or older.

A society is non-commercial it if is established and conducted:

  • For charitable purposes (as defined under Section 2 of the Charities Act 2006)
  • For the purpose of enabling participation in, or of supporting, sport, athletics or a cultural activity; or
  • For any other non-commercial purpose other than a private gain.

An incidental non-commercial lottery is a raffle where tickets are sold and drawn on the same day. This is the kind of raffle that uses cloakroom tickets and is usually held at an event such as a school fetes, or quiz nights and the prizes are often donated. As long as the raffle is drawn on the same day, it does not require a licence or a registration. A tombola would be considered an incidental non-commercial lottery and does not need a registration; however organisers should be aware that children should not be allowed to play if alcohol is included in the prizes.​​

How to apply

Societies are required to be registered with the licensing authority in the area where their principal office is located.

To apply for a small society lotteries licence you will need to complete the application form (PDF) [174KB] (opens new window) and return it to us along with:

  • The relevant fee (payable by card over the phone)
  • A copy of your terms and conditions and or constitution which establishes that you're a non-commercial society.

The fee can be paid by debit or credit card, or by cheque. Cheques should be made out to 'St Helens Council'.

Small society lottery fees
New application£40
Renewal application£20



Organisers must complete a lottery returns form (PDF) [37KB] (opens new window)  within three months of any draw, which lays out how much money was raised, how much used for expenses and how much paid to the charity.

Lottery Tickets

All tickets in a small lottery society must state the following:

  • The promoting society
  • The price of the ticket
  • Name and an address of a member of the society who has responsibility for the promotion of the lottery, or the external lottery manager
  • The date of the draw or information which enables the date of the draw to be determined (eg every Friday).