Charity Fundraising. Do you need a licence?

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1 Charity Fundraising Do you need a licence? Depending on how you do it, you may need a licence or other permission for undertaking charity fundraising. Some of the more common methods of fundraising include: Auctions Bingo Car boot sales Casino nights Dinner dances and similar events Draws/raffles/lotteries/tombolas Horse-racing nights or similar House to House collections Sponsored walks, bike rides, etc. Static collection boxes Street collections (collecting tins in public places) 100 Clubs or similar This information is intended for guidance only and is not a definitive statement of the law. You may wish to consider obtaining your own legal advice. 1

2 Auctions Car boot sales An auction including a pledge of promises does not in itself require any form of licence. Car boot sales do not require any form of licence. Depending upon the location you may need to consider parking arrangements and any impact on the adjoining highway. If you are using the same site regularly, e.g. weekly, then there may be planning implications and you should check this. Bingo You can run a bingo game (provided it is not remote bingo) as part of a fundraising or other non-commercial event to raise money for a charity or good cause without a licence. You must tell the players the good cause you are raising money for and give all the money raised at the event (including any entrance fees, sponsorship, fees for traders stalls and other fees) to the good cause, minus reasonable costs you have from organising the event. Reasonable costs include the cost of prizes. Casino nights You do not need a licence, permit or any other form of permission to run what is called non-commercial equal chance gaming (for example, a poker night organised to raise money for charity), as long as you comply with the statutory rules including any limits on participation fees, stakes and prizes. The players must be told what good cause is to benefit from the profits of the gaming. Persons aged under 16 are not allowed to participate. Please be aware that for stakes and prizes, the maximum values include both money and money s worth. No matter how many games you run or a participant expects to play in, they must not make more than one payment (whether as an admission or participation fee, stake or other charge, or a combination of those charges), and this payment must not exceed 8. The total amount or value of prizes for all the games played at your event must not exceed 600. If you are running more than one event on the same premises and on the same day, the 8 participation fee and 600 total prize limit are collective totals applying to all games played in all the events these are not the fees and limits for each separate game and event. If you are running a series of events held on separate days, the limits of 8 and 600 apply separately to each event. In the final event of a series, where people have qualified by playing at previous events, the total amount or value of prizes for all the games played at the final event can be up to 900. You cannot promote any other event on the same premises on the same day as that on which the final event takes place. The money you raise from the event is called the proceeds. None of the proceeds should be used for private gain. You should give all proceeds to the good cause (including any entrance fees, sponsorship, fees for traders stalls and other fees), minus the costs reasonably incurred by organising the event. Reasonable costs would include costs incurred by providing the prizes. If third parties are selling goods or services at your event, for example someone selling refreshments, this does not count as money raised for the charity or good cause. 1

3 Draws/raffles/lotteries/tombolas If you are holding a raffle as part of a fundraising event then it may qualify as an incidental noncommercial lottery and thus not need any licence. To comply with legal requirements tickets must be sold and the draw take place during the event (which may last more than one day). Prizes can be cash, goods or services but cannot total more than 500. Alcohol can be offered as a prize but must not be given to anybody aged under 18. If you are unable to comply with the above requirements, e.g. you wish to sell tickets in advance of an event, then you cannot use the above exemption of an incidental non-commercial lottery. Instead you will have to take out a Small Society Lottery registration which costs 40 for the first year. At the end of this period you will be able to renew the registration for the following year at the cost of 20. At least 20% of the proceeds must go towards the good cause after the deduction of expenses. Tickets must show the name of the society or group holding the draw, the ticket price, the name and address of the organiser and the date of the draw. In addition tickets should state the society is registered with Test Valley Borough Council as a Small Society Lottery under the terms of the Gambling Act 2005 and quote the registration number. Tickets may be sold from a kiosk, or from shop premises, or from door to door but must not be sold in a street. Lottery tickets must not be sold to, or by, those under the age of 16. It will be necessary to submit a return within three months of the draw giving details of the amounts raised. Irrespective of what you call the particular activity, if you have to pay to enter, there is at least one prize and prizes are awarded purely on chance then legally that activity is a lottery and is illegal unless conducted in accordance with the Gambling Act. Dinner dances and similar If you hold a draw or raffle at the event then you will need to consider the details in the section above. If you are selling alcohol, either by having a pay bar or some other exchange of money or money s worth, then a separate Premises Licence or Temporary Event Notice will be needed. This includes events where the ticket includes the provision of alcohol. House to House collections Anybody wishing to visit houses or places of business to make appeals to the public to give money or other property (or buy articles) for charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purposes, can only do so if they hold a house to house licence to promote the collection. This includes asking persons to sign up to giving by direct debit from a bank account. It is an offence for any person to either promote a collection and/or to act as a collector without the benefit of a licence. The term collection includes visits to public houses, offices and factories. The only exception to the need for a licence is any charity holding a collection over a wide area (the whole of England or Wales or a part of it) can be granted an exemption by the Home Secretary which means a licence issued by the local authority is not needed. These are usually issued to large national charities e.g. Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. 2

4 Horse racing nights or similar In most race nights the selection of a horse by a participant is totally dependent on chance, and where no odds or form are available to assist the gambler s selection. An example would be the use of archive films of horseracing without revealing the details of each race. Such nights can be run without a licence, or any other form of permission, providing the operation of the gaming falls into one of the three categories below. Incidental non-commercial lottery Where the race night is not the only or main purpose of a non-commercial event, it is possible to operate it as an incidental lottery. In this case there are no limits on the amount that players may be charged to participate, but no more than 500 may be deducted from the proceeds of the lottery for the cost of prizes (which may be in cash or in kind), and no more than 100 for other expenses. The organisers can only sell tickets at the event and they have to announce the results at the event. As an example, a horse might be picked at random for each paying customer who is awarded a prize if the horse wins. Non-commercial prize gaming Race nights can be held as non-commercial prize gaming. The players must be told what good cause will benefit from the profits of the gaming. The prizes must be advertised in advance and must not depend on the number of people playing or the stakes raised. In non-commercial prize gaming, the race determines the individual winner or winners, for example, those who have paid are allocated or select a named horse in the race. The winners are then awarded the prizes that had been advertised in advance. Non-commercial equal chance gaming Race nights can also be run as non-commercial equal chance gaming. Equal chance gaming, which also includes games such as poker or bingo, is gaming where the chances are equally favourable to all participants and players are not competing against a bank. The maximum amount that a player may be charged is 8 per day (this includes entrance or participation fees, betting stakes and any other payments in relation to the gaming). Organisers must ensure that the total amount paid out in prizes remains below 600 in total across all players. However, where an event is the final one of a series in which all of the players have previously taken part, a higher prize fund of up to 900 is allowed. This could take place, for example, where each participant pays a fee for a randomly selected horse in each race and the participant with the winning horse or the person who selected the winning horse receives a prize commensurate with the stakes placed. 3

5 Static collection boxes Static collecting boxes are usually either floor standing or placed on counters in shops, pubs, hotels, hospitals, reception areas etc. There is no licensing requirement for collection boxes. Where the management of static collection boxes is undertaken on behalf of charities or other organisations by third parties who receive reward for this activity, it is important that all parties concerned with the static collection box activity are aware of their responsibilities and obligations under the Charities Act Sponsored walks, bike rides, etc Collecting sponsorship pledges does not require any form of licence or other permission. If you are undertaking any activity on the highway such as a sponsored walk, run, cycle ride or bed push then you will need to consider any highway safety aspects. If you wish to collect money during the activity, e.g. from persons along the route, then you will need a Street Collection permit (see below). Street collections (collecting tins in public places) If you want to collect money or sell articles in a street or public place and this will be for the benefit of charitable or other purposes, you require a street collection permit. A street includes any highway and any public bridge, road, lane, footway, square, court, alley or passage. A collection means a collection of money or a sale of articles for a charitable or other purpose. Unlike with House to House collections, this does not include persons being asked to sign up to giving by direct debit from a bank account. Any organisation or person wishing to hold a Street Collection for a charitable purpose must be in possession of a permit at the time the collection takes place. Unless agreed otherwise by the Council, only one collection may take place on any one day in any one location. Although most organisations carry out a collection on a Saturday, collections may take place on other days of the week. Sponsored walks do not need to be licensed but moving collections such as carnival processions and events which involve collecting from the public along a route will require a permit. Exceptions to the requirement for a street collection permit: You do not need a street collection permit if the collection is to take place in an area where there is no general public right of access (e.g. inside a shopping mall, cinema, theatre, private dwelling or business premises). In these circumstances, the permission of the landowner is simply required. You do not need a street collection permit if you are simply selling articles or goods on the street and in the ordinary course of trade for the purpose of earning a livelihood. However, a street collection permit will be required if you make representations that any income from any trade is to be given to charitable purposes. You do not need a permit at a meeting held in the open air for example an organised rally of likeminded people for a common purpose. 4

6 100 Clubs and similar There is no specific legal definition in the Gambling Act of a 100, 200 or 500 club. In most cases these clubs exist to promote lotteries for a good cause (lotteries cannot be run for private or commercial gain) and many are run by organisations such as school parent teacher associations. The numbers 100, 200 or 500 refer to the number of participants in the lottery. The rules that apply to such lotteries are dependent on how the lottery is promoted. Typically, such lotteries are small in scale and operate under the rules for a small society lottery registered with the local licensing authority (see Draws above). Alternatively, it may be able to operate as a private lottery without the need for any licence. A private lottery is one where participation is restricted to the members and guests of the same society or group who all meet at the same premises. It must be run by society members, there can be no roll overs and deduction of running costs including prizes and other reasonable expenses is permitted. Tickets must contain details of the name and address of the organiser, the ticket price, any restrictions as to who may or may not buy a ticket, and state that the rights created by the ticket are non-transferable. For more information Information and advice on applications for House to House Collections, Small Society Lotteries and Street Collections can be obtained from: The Licensing Section, Legal & Democratic Service, Test Valley Borough Council, Beech Hurst, Weyhill Road, Andover SP10 3AJ Telephone: For information and advice on bingo, casino nights, lotteries and any other form of fund raising which may involve betting or gaming see the Gambling Commission web site at: A range of information and advice on the legal aspects of all forms of fund raising is available from the web site of the Institute of Fundraising at: 5

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