Lottery Licence

The Gambling Act 2005 controls the conduct of small lotteries, raffles etc. by societies raising money for charitable, sports and other similar purposes, otherwise than for personal gain.

Please refer to The Gambling Commission for further clarification on the different types of lotteries, the licensing and registration of lotteries, and exempt lotteries. Please see the link at the right of this page for The Gambling Commission. The licensing authority licenses small society lotteries only.


The Act's definition of a small society lottery falls into two distinct areas:

  • Society status - the society in question must be 'non-commercial'.
  • Lottery size - the total value of tickets for sale per single lottery must not exceed £20,000, or the aggregate value of tickets for sale in all lotteries in a calendar year must not exceed £250,000

If the operator plans to exceed either of these values, they may need to be licensed with the Commission to operate a large lottery.

Race Nights

'Race nights' are events in which participants stake money on the outcome of recorded or virtual races, where the selection is totally dependent on chance, and where no 'odds' or 'form' are available to assist the selection.

As a general principle, 'race nights' may only take place at events where none of the proceeds from the event itself are used for private gain, and all participants must be told what good cause is to benefit from the profits from the gaming. No licence, permit or other form of permission is required to operate this kind of gaming provided that the statutory conditions are complied with. The statutory conditions can be found on The Gambling Commission link to the right.

How to Apply for a Small Society Lottery

The societies are required to be registered with their licensing authority in the area their head office is located.

The fee to register a small society lottery licence is £40. Lottery licences are for a period of one year only. To renew a society's lottery licence the fee is £20. Failure to renew the licence in time will result in the licence being cancelled. The society will then have to re-register as a new lottery.

Please find the applications, guidance notes and relevant forms below.


Under para 39 of Schedule 11, the society must send returns to the licensing authority within three months of each lottery held. Information on the returns can be found in the conditions below and the returns forms can be found below.

If you have any queries or for further information, please contact the Licensing Office on 01962 848 238 or email

Please send all applications and returns to:

Licensing Department
Winchester City Council
Colebrook Street
SO23 9LJ

All cheques must be made payable to Winchester City Council.