What is a lottery?

A lottery is a game of chance involving no skill on the part of the player. Lottery tickets are brought for an equal price and each ticket has an equal chance of winning.

Small-scale lotteries to raise money for charitable purposes must be registered with Harrow Council unless they are exempt.

Lotteries must be carried out according to strict rules concerning:

  • where and how tickets are sold
  • the value of prizes that may be offered
  • the amount of money that can be collected

Proceeds must not exceed £20,000 for a single draw and aggregate proceeds from lotteries must not exceed £250,000 in any one year.  The maximum prize is £25,000

At least 20% of the gross proceeds of each lottery must be applied to the purposes of the society.

Up to 80% of the gross proceeds of each lottery may be divided between prizes and expenses. There are other rules that must also be followed.

The society must inform the council of the amounts raised and spent on expenses within three months of the lottery draw. 

You can download a small society lottery returns form.

Incidental lottery

Incidental lotteries can be held at commercial events (such as exhibitions) or non-commercial events (such as school fêtes). They must be promoted wholly for non-commercial purposes such as charitable or other good cause purposes. They cannot be run for private or commercial gain.

All lottery tickets must be sold at the location and during the event, but the results of the lottery can be drawn at the event or after it has finished.

It is recommended that the organisers of the lottery make it clear to participants when the result of the lottery will be decided.

The event may last more than a single day. Promoters of the lottery may not deduct from the proceeds of the lottery more than £100 for expenses and not more than £500 on prizes (but other prizes may be donated).

This lottery cannot involve a rollover of prizes from one lottery to another.

Additional guidance

After your lottery

Download a form to submit a return following a lottery.