It is important to us that anyone gambling, does so safely and within the three objectives that the Gambling Commission set out in the Gambling Act 2005:

  • to keep crime out of gambling
  • to ensure that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way and,
  • to protect vulnerable people from being harmed or exploited from gambling.

We are committed to endorsing a responsible attitude towards gambling and we have a responsibility as a provider of our lottery, to be aware of the social consequences associated with gambling.
In this policy document, we have put in place practical policies and measures to protect people who are vulnerable to gambling.

The Society holds a Society lottery licence, enabling us to hold two annual raffles, by mail to the membership and known supporters, they are not open to general public resale.

Lotteries and the Law

Any type of draw where participants pay money or make a contribution ‘in kind’ to have an equal chance of winning a prize are, in fact, lotteries. This includes raffles, tombolas, prize draws (pull the winning ticket(s) from a hat/box), and sweepstakes such as 100 clubs, even ‘Name the Teddy’ draws.

In essence, all lotteries are illegal unless they are authorised by the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976 or are exempt*. So, before you plan a fundraising draw, make sure either that it:

  • is not deemed to be a lottery,
  • it qualifies as an exempt* lottery.

*A lottery taking place during an exempt entertainment is defined as a bazaar, sale of work, fête, dinner, dance, sporting or athletic event of other entertainment of a similar character whether limited to one day or extending over two or more days. (Section 3(1) of the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976)

Under current law, there are three types of lotteries

Small lottery
A small lottery is a useful additional fundraising tool during an event and if you are running events, why not include a small lottery during each one? Tickets do not have to be specially printed. The value of donated prizes is limitless but no more than £250 should be spent on purchased prizes and, whilst none of the prizes can be cash prizes, vouchers are allowed. Small lotteries must be run as part of another exempt event or entertainment, for example, pub quiz, garden fête or dinner and the sale and draw of tickets must take place during the event. You can only sell tickets to people attending the event.

Private lottery
A private lottery can be offered only to people who live or work at the same premises or who belong to the same membership organisation. All proceeds must be split between prizes and the membership organisation.

Society Lottery
To sell tickets to the general public over a period of time, charities must run a society lottery. Either the charity's local authority or the Gambling Commission, depending on the size of the lottery, regulates these lotteries. If sales of tickets will exceed £20, 000 for a single lottery, or £250, 000 in one calendar year, then the lottery should be registered with the Gambling Commission, otherwise contact the licensing office of your local authority. £2 is the maximum permitted price of a ticket and tickets should not be bought or sold by young people under 16. Society lotteries are a great way of reaching a large swathe of the public who might buy tickets.

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What should appear on society lottery tickets?

There are rules about what must appear on each society lottery ticket:

  • the price;
  • the name of the society/charity;
  • whether the lottery is registered with the Gambling Commission or the local authority;
  • the date of the lottery;
  • the name and address of the promoter;
  • the registered charity’s number (if applicable).

Benefits of organising a lottery

  • Prizes can be donated, thereby reducing your costs.
  • Funds raised by small and private lotteries are unrestricted.
  • Income from private and small lotteries are exempt from tax.

Funds from society lotteries are subject to specific restrictions:

Local authority registered - £20,000 maximum proceeds in a single lottery and £250,000 in a calendar year.

Mini-checklist when organising a lottery, prize draw or competition

  • Make sure the event is a legally exempt lottery.
  • Be sure to budget for expenses and ensure they do not exceed what is allowed.
  • Register with your local authority.
  • Decide on prizes and ensure they conform to the law.
  • Be sure tickets are printed according to the law and contain our registered charity name and number.
  • Brief all volunteers selling tickets and ensure secure systems are in place.
  • Complete and submit a return to the relevant licensing authority.
  • Conduct an audit if required.
  • Keep records separate from other lotteries and retain paperwork for two years.

The most important thing is to make sure that your lottery fits exactly with the rules for small, private or society lotteries.

Crime prevention

Any suspicious or fraudulent transactions must not be accepted. Any attempted suspicious transaction will be logged and reported to the police where appropriate.

All our raffle recipients must have a declared permanent address within the UK

  1. UK mainland
  2. Channel Islands
  3. Northern Ireland
  4. Isle of Man
  5. Scottish Islands

Social Responsibility Policy

Staying in control

Whilst the majority of the public gamble within their means, for some it can be more difficult. Our intention is to present supporters with incentives that do not encourage problem gambling and are set within sensible spending. As such our Society twice annual raffle tickets are sent out exclusively to our members and supporters which limits the scale of stake to provide a safe level of play. Not only is each supporter limited to a small number of tickets of low value raffle tickets but the sequential raffle numbers are linked to each constituent record enabling us to easily identify excessive re-requests for further tickets.

Direction to counselling/advisory services

We are committed to making clear information about the risks of gambling and treatment of problem gambling. Information about the support available for those who feel they have a problem should be made clear on our raffle tickets, leaflets and our web site.

Staff and volunteer training

All staff and volunteers involved in the selling of raffle tickets need to be aware of our social responsibility. Our policy on responsible gambling practices is addressed in our membership policy guidelines


We will review our policies on social responsibility in light of all new research and best practice which we are privy to.

Self-Help, Exclusion and Awareness Information

We will signpost our users who feel they may need support to the GamCare website where there is an array of support and advice.

We also remove, within 48 hours of receiving any request, the names from our mailing list of those who do not wish to receive any further gambling mailings.

Employment of children and young persons

Staff and volunteers under the age of 16 are excluded from any gambling activity.

All staff and volunteers are made aware that the law prohibits underage gambling and to only sell tickets to those aged 16 and over.

Under-aged and vulnerable persons

Our raffles are only open to those over the age of 16 and this is clearly stated on our web site and back of all tickets. We do not sell tickets to any person under the age of 18 as a safeguard and carry out checks to ensure all those on our mailing list are over 18. We also instruct our members and volunteers selling tickets to only those over 16 and if in doubt request identification before selling tickets. Advertising promotional activity is not targeted at minors.

If anyone under the age of 16 is found to have entered any game, they will be automatically removed from the draw and removed from any mailing lists. The police will be contacted in the event of actual or potential underage gambling and no winnings paid on transactions accepted from anyone under 16.

We reserve the right to ask for proof of age from any participant and if we are in any doubt we will not sell any tickets to that customer until proof of identity is provided.


Rules for the draw are listed on raffle tickets and explained in full in any mailings we send out with raffle tickets included. The rules are also published on our website.

All draws are drawn at head office with witnesses, they are conducted at random using either random or a blind draw and the winners will be contacted by post, email or telephone no later than two weeks after the draw date. A list of the results is also published on our website, and membership newsletter.

Any complaints regarding the draw can be made directly to The National Autistic Society by contacting our supporter care team.