Fundraising Ideas

Lotteries Raffles and Tombolas

Raffles, lotteries and tombola's are an easy and exciting way to fundraise. They are appropriate for a wide variety of different events and can be catered to any age group. If you are considering organising a lottery, raffle or tombola then read our guide to ensure you are operating within the law.

A lottery is the formal name for a game of chance whilst a raffle/tombola is generally referred to as a lottery that offers no cash prizes. Lotteries come in different shapes and sizes and are regulated by the Gaming Board. There are, however two types of lottery which you can hold without permission from your local authority or the Gaming Board.

Small Lotteries/Raffles/Tombolas

  • This type of lottery can be held at an event so long as it's not the main attraction or focus of the event. For example, you could have a small lottery at a charity dinner, dance, fete or sports day.

  • You can't sell the tickets in advance, they must be sold on the day of the event and the winner must be announced before the end.

  • Cash Prizes aren't allowed

  • Alcohol can only be used as a prize if everyone entering the lottery/raffle/tombola is 18 years of age or over.

  • The rules also state that the maximum you can spend on prizes is £250, however this figure doesn't include donated gifts

  • There are no restrictions on how many tickets you can sell and at what price so long as you sell them at the event only.

  • The money you make from your lottery/raffle/tombola cannot be used for personal gain, it should be used to cover overheads of running the event and for sponsorship of your chosen charity.

Private Lotteries/Raffles/Tombolas

  • This type of lottery must be limited to members of a group, or those who live or work in the same premises. For example, an office lottery.

  • The price of the tickets must remain the same for everyone entering but there is no restriction on the price you can charge for each ticket.

  • You can't advertise outside the place of sale such as the social club or office premises

  • Unlike small lotteries, prizes for private lotteries can include cash.

  • The money raised from the lottery must go on prizes or fundraising, you can also deduct money to cover printing costs for tickets.

If you are planning a fundraiser and want to sell tickets in advance then you will need to contact your local authority. If you are granted a license you will be able to promote and sell tickets prior to the event taking place, there are however, certain restrictions in place.

  • The lottery/raffle/tombola can't be run for private gain it must be for a charitable cause.

  • The total value of tickets must be less than £20,000. If it totals more than £20,000 than you will need to register your fundraising event with the Gaming board.

  • Each lottery/raffle/tombola ticket must cost no more than £1.00

  • Tickets can only be sold to people 16 years old and over and must not be sold in the street or in any kind of gambling establishment.

Despite the rules and regulations organising a lottery, raffle or tombola is extremely easy and can be very beneficial in helping you to raise funds for your chosen charity. They're easy to set up and get people to buy into and can work with little investment, especially if you get people to donate prizes.