Recently the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has highlighted in its News section the importance of society lotteries and that charities need to be aware of the law in this area. This is something that we are asked to advise on from time to time, particularly in the context of a UK-wide or an Irish-based charity wishing to operate a societies lottery in Northern Ireland. It is important to know that Northern Ireland’s law is different from the rest of the United Kingdom and from the Republic of Ireland in this regard.
The law in Northern Ireland is quite strict and has not been amended since the mid-1980s. There is a Law on Lotteries leaflet produced by the Department for Communities which is helpful.
Some of the matters that we get asked about from time to time are:
• Can the tickets be sold in Euro and in Pounds?
• Can we offer five for the price of four?
• Is there a limit on the total value of tickets?
• Is there an age limit on who can buy and sell the tickets?
• Do we need to register with any particular body?
If you are thinking of operating a lottery to raise funds for a charity or if your supporter groups are considering such an event, you must ensure that you act in compliance with the law.
There is further information on the Fundraising Regulator’s website within the Code of Fundraising in the Northern Ireland section on these types of lotteries https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/code/raffles-lotteries but if you require specific legal advice, please contact Jenny.