Although the Legislative Reform (Exempt Lotteries) Order 2016 (LRO) came into force on April 2016, not many are yet aware of the legislation nor its benefits. This legislation has removed a great deal of bureaucracy surrounding the operation of small non-profit or charity lotteries (i.e. raffles).

The LRO removes the requirement for licenses for the organisers of incidental lotteries (i.e. those being run in addition to another event) as well as three types of private lottery:

  1. Work Place Lotteries
  2. Residential Lotteries
  3. Private Society Lotteries

Incidental Lotteries

The LRO permits organisers of lotteries that are to be incidental to another event, e.g. a music concert or a sporting event to do so without having to apply for a licence from the Gambling Commission. The LRO has also removed the requirement for the results of the lottery to be announced at the time it is drawn.

This exemption applies even if profits from the main event are not going to be given to charity.

Private Lotteries

As with incidental lotteries, the LRO permits organisers of lotteries in work places, residential environments (e.g. a sheltered housing facility) or members of a private society (e.g. a golf club) to run lotteries without being licensed. The only stipulation is that the lottery must not be for private gain, but organisers are free to choose any charity or non-profit organisation they wish.

Staying Within the Law

Clearly the LRO has meant that fundraising for ‘good causes’ is now significantly easier than it had been previously. However, it is important to note that even if you do not need to be licenced, the other provisions of the Gambling Act 2005 will still apply to you and it is important to ensure that you comply with them. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.

The Gambling Commission has provided guidance on these legislative changes, which can be found here.

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