Raffles and lotteries

The Institute of Fundraising's code on raffles and lotteries


Lotteries are valuable fundraising channels through which supporters can donate funds in an ethical and secure way. 

A lottery is based on chance, and people pay for the chance to win a prize. In contrast, a competition usually depends on skill or knowledge, rather than chance. If the level of skill or knowledge required is so low that almost anyone could win, the competition could be considered to be a lottery and therefore subject to lottery legislation.

- Distribution and sales of lottery tickets must be strictly audited. Records should be kept of all tickets distributed, sold, returned sold or returned unsold.

- Tickets cannot be sold on the street, except from a kiosk or shop with no room to accommodate customers. House-to-house sales should comply with the institute's collections code.

- Small lotteries run at an exempt entertainment event such as a bazaar or dinner dance can be promoted without the need for registration, or without making a return to a regulating authority.

- No more than £250 can be used from lottery proceeds to buy prizes, and cash prizes are not allowed.

- No publication of private lotteries is allowed outside the premises of private organisations holding them. Ticket sales must be confined to the members, staff or residents of those organisations.

- Society lotteries must be registered with the appropriate local authority or the Gambling Commission if ticket proceeds are expected to exceed £20,000 in a one-off lottery event or £250,000 in a calendar year.

- No one under the age of 16 can buy or sell lottery tickets.

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