The Law on Lotteries in Northern Ireland
With society lotteries an important means of fundraising for some charities, it is important those operating such lotteries are aware of the law in this area.
The law is set out in the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, with key provisions including the following.
- The society must register with the District Council; specifying the purposes for which the society is established and conducted.
- Tickets may have a maximum price of £1.
- No ticket or chance may be bought or sold by anyone under the age of 16.
- Each ticket must specify the name of the society, the name and address of the promoter, the date of the lottery and the name of the district council which registered the society.
- The price of every ticket must be the same and shown on the ticket; it is not therefore permissible to offer, for example, a book of 6 tickets for the price of 5.
- The total value of tickets or chances sold in any one lottery must not exceed £80,000.
- No more than 50% of the proceeds of a lottery may be used to provide prizes.
- Maintain adequate records in respect of each lottery.
Further information is available in the Department For Communities’ information leaflet SL4 – The Law on Lotteries in Northern Ireland (see pdf below).
If any requirement of the law on lotteries is contravened, then every person who was a party to the contravention, is guilty of an offence. The punishment on conviction can range from a fine to a fine and imprisonment for up to two years.