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Lotteries and raffles

Lotteries and raffles are similar fundraising methods, in that people pay to enter and win prizes allocated through chance.

They are one of the most popular ways of raising money but are subject to tight regulations through the Gambling Act 2005, enforced mainly by local authorities.

Types of lottery

There are four main types of lottery:


Commercial lotteries include large scale draws like the National Lottery. Your MS Society group must not undertake a commercial lottery without contacting your Local Networks Officer first.

  1. Get contact details for your Local Networks Officer


Society lotteries are those where printed raffle tickets are sold to the general public. You must obtain a licence before organising a Society lottery or raffle and follow the Fundraising Regulator's Code of Fundraising Practice, which covers licensing, the role of the promoter, tickets, prizes, proceeds and the draw.

  1. Go to the Fundraising Regulator's Code of Fundraising Practice


Private lotteries are small scale draws, sold only to members of a club, group or business, where all proceeds are distributed to those who take part. Your MS Society group must not run private lotteries, as they are not a fundraising activity.


Incidental lotteries are those that take place during non commercial events such as socials and coffee mornings. Tickets must only be sold at the event and the draw must take place there. You do not need a licence to run an incidental lottery or raffle.

Get your supporters playing a local lottery to raise funds for your group!

The MS Society has partnered with Gatherwell who run and operate local lotteries on behalf of an increasing number of local authorities. Players can win up to £25,000 and 50p from the £1 cost of every ticket goes to your group.

Lotteries are currently running in over 50 local authority areas across the UK.

  1. Contact your Area Fundraiser to find out if your local authority is involved.

If such a lottery is running in your area then why not register your group and encourage your supporters to sign up?

It is easy to sign your group up and Gatherwell provide a bespoke website join page to share with your supporters. This is specific to your group and will ensure that when your supporters register they will automatically support you.

Gatherwell also provide free branded marketing material and ideas to help your group promote the lottery to people in your area.

  1. See our Local lotteries checklist

Staying safe and legal

Commercial and Society lotteries require licences and if tickets are sold in a public place, you must also complete a risk assessment.

  1. See our guidance on Safe and legal fundraising
  2. Find out how to use Our risk management system


Ideally, you should have two or three good prizes donated by local businesses that will attract people’s attention. You could also consider offering a cash prize out of part of the anticipated takings.

  1. Find out more about asking for Donations from local businesses

Tips for selling tickets

  • Selling raffle tickets can be a good way to help boost the funds raised through a major event like a ball or dinner and dance. This way, people who can’t attend the evening can still contribute.

  • Realistically priced, well presented tickets and prizes worth winning will make it easier to encourage volunteers to sell tickets and supporters to buy them.

  • Consider including a small supply of tickets with your MS Society group newsletter.

  • People need to be at least 16 to be able to buy or sell raffle or lottery tickets.

  • Prizes of alcohol are permitted but cannot be won by children under the age of 18.

Any questions?

If you have questions about lotteries and raffles, contact the member of staff who supports you.

  1. Go to Fundraising support

Back to Ways to fundraise