Raffles: Are you hosting an illegal lottery?

You may have seen across our social media during the festive season we were hosting a charity raffle in aid of York Foodbank; however, did you know, that hosting a raffle such as this can require formal registration for it to be legal?

The Gambling Act 2005 looks to restrict and oversee activities that may be regarded as gambling, and it is an offence under this Act to promote a lottery without a licence unless it is an “exempt lottery”. A lottery under the Act is any arrangement where a person pays for entry for a chance to win a prize and the winner is selected wholly by chance; this means that, even if the purpose is to raise money for a charity or good cause, the promotion of a raffle or tombola without the correct authority could be against the law.

There are some exemptions to when authority is needed, for example if a “lottery” is held at an event, such as a fete or a fayre, it is likely to be exempt from needing a licence or registration. However, if it is not being held as part of an event, and it will be advertised to the public (especially if it to be advertised online) then it is likely that registration or a licence will be required.

If you would like more information or assistance on this topic or on licensing in general, we would be happy to help. You can contact the office at 01904 624 903 or email solicitors@guestwalker.co.uk and one of our friendly and professional team will be in touch.

John Walker