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Charity collections and Lotteries

About Charity collections and Lotteries

Street collections

To collect money for charity, or charitable purposes, on any street or public place requires, by law, a permit. Adur District and Worthing Borough Councils are responsible for the administration, regulation and enforcement of street collection legislation within the district and borough.

The Councils' practice is to allow only one collection in an area on any given day to allow all charities a fair chance to hold an uninterrupted collection. Application for a permit needs to be made at least one month before the proposed date of the collection but in practice popular areas, such as Worthing town centre, are often booked several months in advance and it is recommended that bookings are made at least 6 months in advance to guarantee a preferred date.

Guidance:

Form:

After a street collection has been completed the regulations require that the proceeds are accounted for by the holder of the collection by the completion of a statement of account. This statement needs to be lodged with the Licensing Unit within 3 months of the collection date and is kept on file for inspection by the Charity Commission. The Licensing Unit no longer chases these returns but collection organisers need to be aware that all future collection applications made within the District and Borough may be refused if previous statements of account have not been lodged in good time.

If you wish to provide some form of entertainment or stage an event within the town centre to accompany your street collection you need to book the space with the town centre initiative.

For further information please contact the Licensing Unit.

House to house collections

To collect money or other property house to house for charitable purposes requires the promoter to be licensed by the Licensing Authority for that area. If you wish to conduct a house to house collection for charitable purposes (including collecting in public houses etc.) and do not have an Exemption Order issued by the Home Office, you require the consent of Adur District or Worthing Borough Councils.

The legislation requires that a permit is applied for in the prescribed manor. A permit may be granted for up to 12 months but the authority may refuse a licence in certain circumstances and has a duty to satisfy itself that 'the total amount likely to be applied for charitable purposes as a result of the collection (including any amount already so applied) is adequate in proportion to the value of the proceeds likely to be received'.

After a house to house collection has been completed the regulations require that the proceeds are accounted for by the holder of the collection by the completion of a statement of account. This statement needs to be lodged with the Licensing Team within 3 months of the collection date and is kept on file for inspection by the Charity Commission. The Licensing Unit no longer chases these returns but collection organisers need to be aware that all future collection applications made within the District and Borough may be refused if previous statements of account have not been lodged in good time.

For further information contact the Licensing Team.

Charity lotteries

Lotteries and raffles are strictly regulated in law. Section 14 of the Gambling Act 2005 authorises the conduct of small lotteries by societies for raising money for charitable, sports and other similar purposes, otherwise than for private gain. Unless a lottery is exempt, a society on whose behalf the lottery is promoted must be registered with the appropriate authority, Adur District Council, Worthing Borough Council or the Gambling Commission and the lottery must be conducted in a manner complying with the Act.

If you require information regarding charity lotteries and exempt lotteries contact the Licensing Unit.

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Licensing Lotteries

The Licensing Unit of the Councils' Environmental Services Section is responsible for the licensing of certain types of Lotteries.

Section 14 of the Gambling Act 2005

Authorises the conduct of small lotteries (e.g. a sweepstake or draw, etc.) by societies for raising money for charitable, sports and other similar purposes, otherwise than for private gain. The society on whose behalf the lottery is promoted must first be registered with the appropriate authority, and the lottery must be conducted in a manner complying with the Act.

Lotteries and raffles are strictly regulated in law. 'Incidental non-commercial lotteries', 'private lotteries', 'customer lotteries' and 'free draws & prize competitions' are the only types to enjoy exemption from registration. All other lotteries and raffles need to be registered either with the local authority or the Gambling Commission.

By far the most common exempt raffle is 'Incidental non-commercial lotteries'. Its exemption from the usual raffle/lottery registration requirement can be made if the following criteria can be met but these are exceptional and usually only in the event of a fete type of event or other 'one-off fun days'. The exemption can only be made where the raffle/lottery can be deemed to be small and 'incidental' to the main entertainment on that day.

An incidental lottery is one that is incidental to a commercial or non-commercial event. The lottery must be promoted wholly for a purpose other than that of private gain i.e. the lottery can only be promoted for charitable or other 'good cause' purposes - and cannot be run for private or commercial gain. The event may last more than a single day.

Incidental lotteries must comply with conditions set out in Schedule 11 of the Act and related Statutory Instruments1 and includes the following:

  • the promoters of the lottery may not deduct more than £100 from the proceeds in respect of the expenses incurred in organising the lottery, such as the cost of printing tickets, hire of equipment etc.
  • no more than £500 can be deducted from the proceeds for prizes. Other prizes may be donated to the lottery and there is no maximum limit on the value of donated prizes.
  • the lottery cannot involve a rollover of prizes from one lottery to another.
  • tickets can only be sold at the location and during the event. 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.

For details regarding the other exempt lotteries please contact the Licensing Unit at Worthing Borough Council or refer to the guidance below. All other lotteries need to be registered.

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Registration of Society

In order to obtain the benefits of the Act, the society (an expression which includes a local branch or section of a society organised on a national or area basis) must be one which is established and conducted wholly or mainly for one or more of the following purposes, that is to say:

  • charitable purposes;
  • participation in or support of athletic sports or games or cultural activities;
  • purposes which, not being described in paragraph (a) or (b) above, are neither purposes of private gain nor purposes of any commercial undertaking.

If a society does not put on sale tickets or chances valued at more than £20,000 for any lottery and it does not put on sale tickets or chances the value of which, when added to those sold or to be sold in all earlier lotteries in the same calendar year, amounts to over £250,000, application for registration should be made to the local authority within whose area the office or the head office of the particular society is situated; forms of application are available from Adur & Worthing Councils' Licensing Unit, and when completed should be returned to the authority, together with the statutory fee of £40.

If a society wishes to run lotteries which will exceed the amounts mentioned above, then application for registration must be made to the Gambling Commission.

The cost of holding a lottery registration is £40.00 a year for the first year and £20.00 a year thereafter. Forms and advice are available from the Licensing Unit.

Lottery related licence forms are available from the Licensing Forms section.

For details on Society Lotteries please refer to the guidance below:

For any further queries please contact the Licensing Unit.

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Children and Small Society Lotteries

Small society lotteries can pose a particular challenge in terms of the protection of children from harm. These lotteries should ensure that they comply with the provisions of the Gambling Act 2005 and that in particular children should not be involved in the sale or purchase of small society lottery tickets.

Small society lotteries and the Gambling Act 20

Small society lotteries, often run by schools and other community organisations, are caught by the provisions in the Gambling Act 2005 relating to children. Small society lottery organisers and promoters will commit offences if they sell tickets to under 16s.

According to Section 56 of the Act it is an offence to invite, cause or permit a child to participate in a lottery. Small society lotteries are not exempt from this provision.

The penalties for these offences are listed at Section 62 of the Gambling Act 2005:

  • imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks
  • a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale
  • or both

What should small societies be doing in order to comply?

The Gambling Commission's Guidance to Local Authorities states that:

“participation in a lottery is a form of gambling and as such licensing authorities must be aware that the societies they register are required to conduct their lotteries in a socially responsible manner and in accordance with the Act”

Small society lotteries should therefore:

  • avoid selling tickets to children
  • giving tickets to children to sell
  • implement effective procedures to minimise the risk of lottery tickets being sold to children, including procedures for:
    • checking the age of potentially under-age purchasers of lottery tickets; and
    • taking action where there are unlawful attempts to purchase tickets.

The guidance also states that reports of sales of lottery tickets to/by under 16s would give a Local Authority reason to investigate the specific circumstances of a small society lottery. The Gambling Commission guidance states that licensing authorities take a risk-based approach towards the enforcement responsibilities for small society lotteries, focusing resources particularly on suspected 'problem' lotteries with a view to taking the appropriate legal action.

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Prize competitions and free draws

Lotteries and raffles are strictly regulated in law. 'Incidental non-commercial lotteries', 'private lotteries', 'customer lotteries' and 'free draws & prize competitions' are the only types to enjoy exemption from registration. All other lotteries and raffles need to be registered either with the local authority or the Gambling Commission.

Prize competitions

In prize competitions, success depends, at least in part, on the exercise of skill, judgement or knowledge by the participants. This distinguishes them from lotteries, where either success depends wholly on chance or, in a complex lottery, the first stage relies wholly on chance. Section 14(5) of the Gambling Act addresses this distinction.

Free draws

An arrangement is a lottery only if the participants are required to pay to enter. Therefore free draws are not lotteries and are exempt from statutory control. Schedule 2 to the Gambling Act gives details of what is to be treated as amounting to 'payment to enter' for the purposes of distinguishing free draws from lotteries.

The Gambling Commission has issued Guidance to the Gambling Act covering 'free draws & prize competitions' and how to ensure their legality:

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