The Gambling Act 2005 identifies which legal lotteries require a Gambling Commission licence or local authority registration.

Large society lotteries

These are promoted for the benefit of a non-commercial society with distinct aims and objectives and meets the definition of a non-commercial society set out in the Act.

This type of lottery must be licensed by the Gambling Commission if the proceeds may exceed £20,000 in a single lottery, or the combined proceeds in a calendar year have exceeded £250,000.

Local authority lotteries

Promoted by a local authority where the proceeds may be used for any purpose, requires a licence from the Gambling Commission.

Small society lotteries

A lottery where the proceeds will not exceed £20,000 in a single lottery and the combined proceeds do not exceed £250,000 in a calendar year.

Although a licence isn’t required, the lottery must be registered with the local authority where the society’s head office is located.

Apply to register a small lottery

The application process usually takes 14 days and you must wait until the application has been determined before you proceed.


The Licensing Authority must refuse the application if, in the previous five years to the application being made:

  • An operating licence held by the applicant for registration has been revoked by the Gambling Commission; or
  • An application for an operating licence made by the applicant has been refused by the Gambling Commission

The Licensing Authority may refuse the application if they think that:

  • The applicant is not a non-commercial society
  • A person who will or may be connected with the promotion of the lottery has been convicted of a relevant offence under Schedule 7 of the Act.
  • Information provided in or with the application for registration is found to be false or misleading


  • Additionally, the registration of a society may be revoked by the Local Authority if it thinks that they would have had to, or would be entitled to, refuse an application for registration if it were being made at that time.
  • An application for registration may only be refused or revoked by the Local Authority after the society has been given the opportunity to make representations. Representations may be made at a formal hearing or through correspondence. The society will, in the first instance, be informed by the Local Authority as to the reasons why they consider the application for registration should be refused/revoked and will be provided with a summary of the evidence on which the preliminary conclusion has been made. This is to enable representations to be made.
  • The applicant or society has a right of appeal the decision of the Local Authority to the local Magistrates’ Court within 21 days of receipt of the determination notice.

Visit the Gambling Commission Small Lotteries Enforcement guidance for further details of all licensing and registration requirements

Statutory return form

The promoting society of a small society lottery has a duty to accurately reflect the results of any lottery it holds by submitting a statutory return form to the local authority within three months of the lottery draw taking place.

If a society running small lotteries fails to comply with any of the conditions of running such lotteries (as specified in Part 4 of Schedule 11 of the Gambling Act 2005) it will be operating in an illegal manner, irrespective of whether it is registered with a licensing authority or not. In these circumstances, small society lottery operators may face prosecution from the Licensing Department and/or the Gambling Commission.

Full details of what is specified under Part 4 of Schedule 11 of the Gambling Act 2005 can be found here.

No licence is required for: 

  • incidental non-commercial lotteries, usually taking place at fund raising events such as school fetes. To qualify as non-commercial, all the money raised, including entrance fees, refreshments etc, must go to purposes other than private gain
  • private society lotteries in which only the members of that society can take part
  • work lotteries in which only people who work in the same place can participate
  • resident lotteries which only people who live in the same premises can enter
  • customer lotteries in which only customers of a particular business can take part

Visit the Gambling Commission or contact the council below. 


Small society lotteries that need to be registered with the local authority must pay a statutory fee of £40 and £20 for the annual renewal fee (cheque payable to Newport City Council) to be paid when the application is made. 

The annual fee is required to be paid on the anniversary of when the registration was granted and you will receive an invoice advising you how to make payment. Failure to make payment of the annual fee may result in cancellation of the registration.

Fees are set under The Small Society Lotteries (Registration of Non-Commercial Societies) Regulations 2007


Email [email protected] or contact Newport City Council and ask for the licensing team.