If your raffle is held at an event as an “incidental non-commercial lottery” and follow certain rules you don't currently need a licence. This includes tombolas, raffles and sweepstakes.
The raffle tickets must be sold at the location and while the event is taking place. The tickets can't be sold in advance of the event or online (which includes social media).
The result of the raffle can be announced either at the event or after it has finished. It is recommended that you make it clear when the draw will be.
You should take note of the following:
- A physical ticket must be provided
- Prizes must be awarded by chance
- No more than £500 can be spent on prizes. Prizes can also be donated, there isn't a limit on how much donated prizes can cost
- No more than £100 can be taken from the proceeds for expenses to run the raffle.
- There can be no rollovers of prizes from one raffle to another.
For more information see the Gambling Commission guides to running fundraising, raffles and lotteries.
This advice is not comprehensive or a binding interpretation of the law and anyone intending to run such a raffle should direct any questions to The Gambling Commission.
Start with who you know! Ask the businesses you are a customer with, get family and friends to do the same. Then ask other local businesses or national companies with a local presence. Tell them a bit about your event, why we matter to you and how the money you raise will help families.
Be clear what you can offer companies in return for a prize, such as a mention at your event, their name on a poster or your social media. Tommy's can give you an official letter on headed paper that you can show companies that you are asking prizes from. Register your event with us and email us for the letter.
Many events don’t need a licence. However you should check the situation early on, as if you do need a licence or other permission, this can take some time, even months in some cases.
There is a very useful guide on the government website which tries to help you run an event with the minimum amount of red tape. Read the guide here.
The following events do not need entertainment licences between the hours of 8am and 11pm:
- performances of live unamplified music for audiences
- performances of live amplified music in licensed premises for audiences of up to 200 people
- performances of plays and dance for audiences of up to 500 people
- indoor sporting events for audiences up to 1,000 people
- karaoke – between 8am and 11pm in licensed premises for audiences of 200 or less if there is any amplification
- incidental music - live music that is incidental to other activities that aren’t classed as regulated entertainment
GOV.UK also holds more detail on entertainment licensing.
If you are planning on playing pre-recorded music at an event that is open to the public, check with your venue to see if it holds licences from PRS (Performing Rights Society) for Music and PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited).
If your venue does not hold these licences you should check with those organisations whether you need a licence. A fee will probably be payable.
You don’t need a licence to provide alcohol at a private event, as long as it is not being sold. You must not sell tickets that can then be exchanged for an alcoholic drink, or to ask for a donation in return for alcohol.
You also don’t need a licence if the venue has either of the following:
- a ‘Premises Licence’ and that there is a named ‘supervisor’ who holds a ‘Personal Licence’ to sell alcohol
- a ‘Club Premises Certificate’ which includes the sale of alcohol
This is something you can check with the owner of the venue.
If none of the above apply and you want to:
- have a bar where alcohol is sold
- sell alcohol in another way
- provide entertainment to the wider public
- charge to raise money for your event
You will need a Temporary Event Notice.
There is currently no law that says you must buy insurance for a voluntary or community event – but you might want to make sure you are covered in case something goes wrong and someone makes a claim against you.
Public liability insurance covers the organisers of events if they are held to blame for injury, loss or damages. You can buy different levels of covers, the costs are often relatively low, sometimes as little as £50. Talk to an insurance broker who can help you find the right level of cover.
Sometimes the venue owner or local council may ask you to have public liability insurance. If you are holding the event in your own home or garden you may be covered by your home insurance. Talk to your insurer for advice.
If you are using someone else's building or land you may be covered by their insurance, do ask.
If you are hiring equipment such as a marquee or bouncy castle check with the company you are hiring it from whether their terms of hire include insurance and read any conditions carefully, especially any exclusions.
If external businesses are providing services, such as food or rides, you should check they have their own insurance, and that it is in force on the day of the event.
If you want to provide or sell food at an event you need to consider some basic points.
- Make sure the places the food will be prepared, stored and served are clean and in a good state of repair.
- Make sure the food can't be contaminated by pests, animals or waste
- Make sure the washing facilities are adequate
Labelling food and allergies
Food sold for a charity, currently only has to follow food labelling regulations if the seller is a registered food business. This includes food sold at one-off events.
However, labelling food voluntarily may be helpful for people who follow certain diets and particularly if the food contains a common allergen that buyers may need to be aware of, such as nuts in a cake.