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How to run a lottery for your customers

You can run a lottery for your customers if the lottery will take place at your businesses’ physical location or premises. This is known as a customer lottery.

You can’t make a profit from running a customer lottery.

You cannot make a profit from a customer lottery and you also cannot use them for fundraising. All the money you raise must either be used to pay for prizes, or used to cover costs of running the lottery.

How to run a customer lottery

You must be the occupier of a business premises to run this type of lottery.

Who can I sell tickets to?

You can sell tickets to customers aged 16 and over.

Ticket requirements

You must provide physical tickets to the people playing.

Your tickets must show:

  • the name and address of the organiser
  • the ticket price
  • any restrictions for who can and can’t buy a ticket
  • the rights created by the ticket are non-transferable.

You can only sell physical tickets to customers when they're on your premises for business purposes. You can’t sell tickets online.

Where can the draw be advertised?

Adverts for the lottery cannot be posted online or sent by text message or email. You can only advertise the draw on a single set of business premises, and cannot be sent to any other premises.

Where can the draw take place?

You can only run a customer lottery from a single set of physical business premises and the draw must take place on these premises. It can’t be done online.

In England, you can’t run a customer lottery without a licence if your business needs a gambling premises licence. For example, if you run an arcade or bingo hall.

In Scotland, you can run your customer lottery without a licence if your business needs a gambling premises licence.

Can I claim my costs?

You can claim money for prizes and reasonable running costs using the money you raise.

Prizes

Physical prizes must be under £50 in value. Your business could also choose to offer a service as a prize.

For example, a hairdressers could offer a free makeover which is worth £50. However, it might only cost the business £30 in materials. The hairdressers could use £30 from the proceeds to cover their costs and use the remaining £20 to buy other prizes.

You can’t hold a customer lottery on a vessel

For example, you can’t hold a customer lottery on a ship or a boat. This is because of restrictions in the Gambling Act 2005.

What's classed as 'vessel'?
The Gambling Act 2005 defines a vessel as:
  • anything (other than a seaplane or amphibious vehicle), designed or adapted for navigation or other use in, on or over water
  • a hovercraft
  • anything, or any part of any place, situated on or in water.
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How to run a lottery with people you work with