Lotteries can be an appealing fundraising option for churches as part of a creative toolbox to raise funds.
100 clubs are a type of lottery which is limited to 100 tickets per draw, with a percentage of revenue used as the prize fund and the rest kept by the church. Larger varieties, such as 250 clubs and 500 clubs, can also be run using the same principle.
Some churches will feel that, as a type of gambling, lotteries (including 100 clubs) do not fit with their social mission. We make no judgment here on the suitability of running a lottery, we seek only to provide the basic legal framework. The below is provided as a general guide; you should always undertake your own research and confirm the legal status of your lottery.
There is a danger in assuming that running a lottery does not require legal oversight. This is especially true of 100 clubs, where churches have presumed them to be Private Society Lotteries. To qualify as a private society lottery you must:
- Only sell tickets to people on the electoral roll (worshippers not on the electoral roll are not eligible);
- Only sell tickets on church premises (in the street or at people's homes is not allowed).
As most churches will need the freedom to sell tickets to people not on the electoral roll and to sell to members off the church premises, their 100 club will not qualify as a Private Society Lottery. Instead, most churches are more likely to fall under Small Society Lottery status, as long as proceeds do not exceed £20k per draw and overall proceeds do not exceed £250k per year.
As a Small Society Lottery, you do not need to register with the Gambling Commission but you do need to register with your local district council, which usually costs £40 with a £20 annual renewal fee.
When we say raffle we usually mean a type of lottery held at events, typically at summer fêtes, which are legally known as Incidental Lotteries. They do not require registration with the Gambling Commission/District Council as long as certain requirements are met. For the full list of rules see the Gambling Commission website, but in general:
- Tickets must be sold during the event and on the premises (they must not be sold in advance of the event);
- The sum total of prizes taken from ticket sale revenue must not be more than £500 (donated prizes do not count towards this total).
If your raffle does not meet these criteria then it is probably a Small Society Lottery (see above).